#kerajaangagal120 – Is Malaysia going to have a constitutional crisis over “ASAP” – “as soon as possible”?

Is Malaysia going to have a constitutional crisis over “ASAP” – “as soon as possible”?

The holder of Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair at University of Malaya and Tun Hussein Onn Chair at ISIS Malaysia, Professor Shaq Saleem Faruqi wrote an article in the Star on Thursday on the discretionary and non-discretionary powers and functions of the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

I agree with him that “the proper approach to constitutional interpretation is that no provision conferring power and function on the King should be interpreted literally or in isolation but must be read in the light of Articles 40(1) and 40(1A), which require His Majesty to act on advice” and that “In several situations, the King’s personal discretion is necessarily implied”.

The Sheraton Move conspiracy which toppled the democratically-elected government and ushered in a backdoor, undemocratic and illegitimate government which is afraid to test its parliamentary majority in a confidence motion in Parliament has given rise to an unprecedented constitutional position following at least three developments:

1. The present Yang di Pertuan Agong is known to have refused the prime minister’s advice to proclaim an Emergency.

2. The Emergency Ordinance of January 14 this year, in section 2 establishes an “Independent Special Committee” appointed by the King “to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the continuing existence of the grave Emergency” – which amounted to an implicit undertaking that the Cabinet or the designated Minister would not invoke Article 40 and 40(1A) of the Constitution and that it is the Special Independent Emergency Committee (SIEC) that will advise the King on whether to terminate or extend the Emergency on August 1.

3. The clear-cut and undisputed failure of the emergency as a weapon to fight the invisible war against Covid-19 pandemic, highlighted by today’s data on the latest Covid-19 situation in the country: 6,640 new Covid-19 cases and 74 deaths as compared to 2,232 cases and 4 deaths on January 11, 2021. What is worse, we have suddenly become one of the world’s top worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic when other worst performing nations in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic like the Unites States, United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain have turned the corner and performing better than Malaysia to bring the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

For the past year, we have been in the midst of a constitutional impasse where no person had been able to command a clear majority in Parliament while the country is faced with an existential threat by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unless there is one person which could demonstrate clearly and convincingly outside Parliament this clear-cut parliamentary majority for him to become the Prime Minister, this issue must be subordinated to the existential threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I have proposes a one-year political moratorium which can be extended to two years where there is only one national priority – to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure that Covid-19 fatalities do not exceed 5,000 deaths.

The Conference of Rulers special meeting offers the nation the possibility of a new start for the nation for Malaysians to put aside their political and other differences to focus single-mindedly on winning the Covid-19 war, whether it takes one or two years.

I reiterate my call to the Prime Minister to convene an emergency Cabinet meeting to act on the two conclusions of the Conference of Rulers special meeting, as it is a national disservice for the country to plunge into a constitutional crisis over the meaning of ASAP.

I also reiterate my call to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Takiyuddin Hassan not to be obstinate or obstructive but to fully use his influence to enable the convening of Parliament and the various State Assemblies before August 1, 2021.

It is still possible for Parliament to convene before August 1, 2021 under the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders.

Malaysians do not want any constitutional crisis in any form but a single-minded focus by every Malaysian, whether in the Executive or the Legislatures, to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let Malaysians show the world that we can unite and win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic which is killing Malaysians every day and threatening to destroy the very fabric of the Malaysian society.

(Media Statement (3) by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 18th June 2021)

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