ARTICLE 39 of the Federal Constitution – ‘Executive authority of Federation’ – states that Agong can exercise executive authority or delegate such powers to a Prime Minister and Cabinet, a Minister authorised by Cabinet, or Parliament may by law confer executive functions on other persons.
No court will go against the Agong on his role under the Constitution. The matter is non-justiciable.
In jurisprudence, the nature of human relationships may be regulated by the Holy Bible, the Ten Commandments, Adat, international law, Constitution, Parliament, case law or the court based on what parties in dispute submit on issues in conflict, out of court settlements, prima facie cases, administrative law and matters which may even be beyond the Constitution, law and court.
Law, ultimately, remains the power of language on regulating human relationships based on mulling over and coming up with opinions based on inspirations that can stand up in court.
However, law must have source to have jurisdiction, authority and power. According to jurisprudence, God isn’t a source in law.
The Agong’s recent decrees, for want of a better term, have sources based on what both sides of the political divide have agreed upon (or at least by not objecting) and the public positions taken.
The Agong remains above the fray notwithstanding the special circumstances which arose after Muhyiddin resigned.
Again, both sides of the political divide deferred to the Agong.
When Muhyiddin resigned, the Agong could have pointed in the direction of Parliament House, and closed the Istana gates, if he did not want to invite another MP to form the Government or he did not want to exercise executive authority under Article 39.
It was clear on Aug 20 that despite the Istana’s call, days earlier – via Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun’s email to all 220 MPs – for only unconditional votes, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had only secured 32 unconditional nominations for the 222-seat Parliament.
Two seats – Batu Sapi in Sabah and Gerik in Perak – are vacant.
Of the 114 nominations that Ismail Sabri received, 82 were conditional, ie 50 from Perikatan Nasional (PN), 18 from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and UMNO ‘court cluster’ (14).
The support of the 14 MPs form the ‘court cluster’ may be shaky, and getting shakier by the minute as court cases proceed.
If four MPs pull out, Ismail Sabri would on paper fall like ten pins. Déjà vu!
Unfortunately for the UMNO ‘court cluster’, Pakatan Harapan (PH) led by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has promised virtually unconditional support if the accused MPs try to dislodge him from power.
PH has 90 seats in Parliament.
It can be argued that there is no reason for the 106 Opposition MPs, including Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to support Ismail Sabri when he excluded them from the Cabinet and Government despite the Agong’s call.
Muhyiddin was forced to resign on Aug 16 after the 14 UMNO MPs and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah withdrew their support, leaving him with only 100 MPs including 27 lawmakers from UMNO.
The Gua Musang MP, better known as Ku Li, even wrote to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to request that he be transferred to a seat near the independent bloc which does not support the current Government.
The 14 MPs publicly declared that they were not against the PN+ Government in Putrajaya – they were only against Muhyiddin as PM.
They alleged that he mishandled the pandemic and the economic recovery, and that was probably true.
What was never mentioned was the numerous charges most of them were facing in court for corruption, bribery and deriving personal benefit, abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, conflict of interest, money laundering and tax evasion, all these involved billions from state coffers. – Sept 8, 2921
Joe Fernandez is a longtime Borneo watcher and a regular FocusM contributor.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.