Was The Speaker Playing Politics?

Pic courtesy of Malaysiakini

The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat yesterday issued a statement saying that he will not issue a notice for the August House to convene for a special sitting at the request of Mahathir.

Many said that the Speaker was playing politics, and possibly because his son works for the DAP. However, I am in the opinion that the Speaker was right.

Any person who is to become a Minister must first take an oath of office and allegiance and an oath of secrecy in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before taking office, as prescribed by Article 43(6) the Federal Constitution.

When Parliament is dissolved, the PM and cabinet remain in office as a caretaker government until a new government is formed and sworn in.

In this case, Mahathir resigned, and the Cabinet automatically resigns with him. His oaths of office, allegiance and secrecy are null and void. He is no longer a Prime Minister. He was appointed as an Interim PM, but there was no swearing-in ceremony. Constitutionally-speaking, he is NOT a Prime Minister.

Therefore, if he is not a PM, he cannot instruct the Speaker of the House to issue a notice to convene for a special sitting when Parliament is in recess according to Rule 11(3) of the Parliamentary Meeting Rules.

Who Is Anwar To Demand?

Anwar demands for the seat of the Prime Minister (pic courtesy of The Third Force)

Anwar Ibrahim has been waiting for the past 22 years to become the PM. The closest he ever got there was 23 years ago when he became the acting Prime Minister for a short while. And then he got expelled from UMNO that was being led by Mahathir.

There may have been an understanding or even an agreement between Mahathir’s PPBM and PKR, DAP, and PAN that Anwar should become the PM after an X number of years of Mahathir being at the helm.

While Mahathir has never mentioned a specific date for a handover, Anwar has been selling the idea of him being the next PM to the public, forcing a perception that it is his right to take over the helm from Mahathir.

He even said to members of the press that he is open to the idea of Mahathir joining his cabinet. That is how cocksure he is of becoming the PM.

But, since when is the Prime Minister’s post the right of an individual? Even if a Prime Minister can determine his successor, only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the constitutional right to choose a Prime Minister.

Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution gives that right to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to choose a Prime Minister from amongst the members of the Lower House whom he thinks has the confidence and support of the majority of the members.

Back during BN days it became a convention that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong chose the one named by the incumbent, but that was then. That was a time when BN commanded the majority in Parliament.

Unlike the BN, this is a government of motley crew. Helmed by a Prime Minister from a party with the least number of seats, support from within can go either way.

And to get a sure majority support, the Opposition has to be roped in; something unthinkable during the BN days. However, given a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, I doubt that it is in the best interest of the Opposition to back someone seen to have the support of the DAP.

To put Anwar Ibrahim in that post in ways other than those prescribed in the Federal Constitution would be a revolution, and there is nothing democratic about revolutions.

It is the sole right of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to choose a Prime Minister to lead his government. There is no other form of right agreed by all parties when this nation came into being. Dreamers can therefore continue to dream.