Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Malaysia - Government still in place save Cabinet(Executive)/ Why did Dr M resign? Not sure he still enjoyed majority support?

Our government has 3 branches - Executive, Legislature and Judiciary > and the only branch that has to be confirmed is the Executive - who will be PM, and thereafter the Cabinet

Why did Mahathir resign? This will the question that we need to consider based on some facts as reported in media, and also some speculations.

Facts that we know - Within the Pakatan Harapan parties, there was pressure being exerted for Mahathir to resign on or before May 2020, and hand over premiership to Anwar Ibrahim. What we know is that there was a pre-GE agreement between the 4 Pakatan Harapan parties. Anwar was reported saying before that this handover should be within 2 years. At the same time, some say that there was no fixed time frame when this 'hand-over' was to happen. BUT then, we have not seen that Agreement - not sure whether it was verbal or written? 

Comment - The validity of any such agreement is questionable, because at the end of the day the YDP Agong(King) is the one who appoints future Prime Minister, and a pre-condition that need to be satisfied is that to be Prime Minister, one needs the support of the majority of the MPs. 

Facts that we know - Some apparently wanted to leave the Pakatan Harapan, an informal coalition to form government. Now, Bersatu, one of the 4 parties, left Pakatan Harapan - and the question would have emerged whether Dr. M, being a member of Bersatu, still had the confidence of the majority.

Then, we have the fact that 11 PKR MPs also left the party.

There was then also talk that the Opposition may be tabling a Motion of Confidence(or No Confidence) on Prime Minister, Dr M. The risk of the passing of a motion of no-confidence, or the failure to get support on a Motion of Confidence would have brought same result - which then PM Dr M would have to tender his resignation and that of the Cabinet, if the King refuses a request to dissolve Parliament and call for a new Elections.

Given all these, the question may have arisen whether Dr. M still enjoyed the confidence of the majority. Did the Pakatan Harapan parties, or other friendly parties like Warisan and others still supported Dr.M as Prime Minister, noting also the fact that he was still a member of BERSATU.

There was also rumors that within BERSATU leadership, there were 'conflicts' and apparently Mahathir had lost majority support amongst the leadership? That is still unclear.

THEREFORE, what Prime Minister Dr M did was to tender his resignation to the King, forcing the now determination of which MP has the confidence of the majority of MPs to be appointed the new Prime Minister.

The King is meeting each and every MP personally to determine their position. This is good because all MPs are now free to express his/her personal position, which hopefully would be guided by concern for the best interest of Malaysia and its people - nothing else. It is 'secret' - meaning what they say or do will not be known even by their political party or leaders. [Since the MP is the peoples' representative representing the constituents in his area - the MP should have gone back to their constituents to determine their views. But sadly, no reports saying that this happened with regard to any MP. So, the only view they are considering is the view of their current elected leaders(not even the membership of the party) before deciding]

Who is the candidate MP being considered by the King to be the new Prime Minister? Dr. Mahathir? Anwar Ibrahim? Zahid Hamidi? Hadi?...well we really do not know. All we know is that every MP has to fill up some form. Maybe, the question is WHO do you have confidence to be the NEW Prime Minister? Maybe even, if the first name MP declines, who then? We really do not we. Many speculate it is merely to determine whether Dr. M should be the 'NEW' MP? All MPs, after meeting the King, had not said anything on this subject.

So, do not be surprised that suddenly the King appoints some other person to be Prime Minister - not Mahathir?

Pakatan Harapan is not like Barisan Nasional(BN), who is a registered coalition or political party. So, in Parliament, there are identified as BN MPs - while the PH MPs are still identified as DAP or PKR or Amanah or ...

Pakatan Harapan registered? No news or confirmation on most likely still not ONE party.

Given this fact, the government today is really a government where no political party has the majority - it is a government of a coalition of different political parties which also have a common position as indicated in the Pakatan Harapan Election Manifesto. PKR was the party with the most number of seats, but after 11 of their MPs left - DAP is the party with the majority of MPs in Parliament.

By convention with reference to other jurisdictions with a similar system of democracy, in such a situation the party with the most number of MPs will be given first choice of forming government. 

DAP today has come out with the position that it nominates Dr. M, so now they have to show that their candidate Dr M has the majority support. Following this, several parties have publicly declared their support for Dr M to be the Prime Minister. 

In any event, the King wanted to be sure about each and every MP's position on this as to who will be next NEW Prime Minister. 

The situation in Malaysia today is NO BIG DEAL - because in many other countries, the Prime Minister may simply be from a party that has minimum MPs.

Who choses the Cabinet? At the end of the day, it really is the Prime Minister. But reality is that when such a coalition of parties come into power, parties give support conditionally - usually the condition is about how many Ministers or members of Cabinet they should be given, and what portfolio.

In this current situation, if Dr M gets the confidence of the majority, and becomes Prime Minister, he still may not be FREE to chose the best of MPs or Senators to be in his NEW Cabinet. Theoretically possible - but reality is different, because if any of the parties or MPs object, then they may withdraw support and the Prime Minister may lose the confidence of the majority - and will be forced to tender his resignation.

UMNO and PAS seems to not want DAP in the Cabinet. DAP does not want UMNO to be part of the government - the Executive?

Problem is many parties may want a certain number in the Cabinet BUT their MPs may not have the skills or capacity to be a Minister or Deputy Minister. We have already seen this in the past Pakatan Harapan Cabinet - some Ministers shone but others hardly flickered, or even did things that angered the people.

Muhyiddin, as Home Minister, is criticized for his failure with regard the 'enforced disapperance' case, the actions of the police which still use draconian laws which the Pakatan Harapan parties promised to abolish, the 'secrecy' of the Wang Kelian RCI Report...The Minister is in charge of the police, the Immigration Department, etc ...

The appointed Education Minster was also a problem ...anyway he is no more.

Remember, the one who holds EXECUTIVE power, according to the Federal Constituion is not the Prime Minister but the Cabinet..or any Minister authorised by Cabinet 

39  Executive authority of Federation
The executive authority of the Federation shall be vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and exercisable, subject to the provisions of any federal law and of the Second Schedule, by him or by the Cabinet or any Minister authorised by the Cabinet, but Parliament may by law confer executive functions on other persons.
As such, if Najib abused 'executive power' and committed crimes, then the liability falls on the entire Cabinet. Thus, if a member of Cabinet disagrees strongly with the actions of the Cabinet or the Prime Minister, he/she wisely should resign from Cabinet. Since Cabinet has 'collective responsibility', the option to close eyes, ears and mouth is not an option as he/she will still be responsible..
Article 43(3) The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament. 
What happens if there is no Member of Parliament who gets the 'confidence of the majority'? 

A very unlikely scenario BUT can happen..

As we mentioned, we do not what is the question being asked by the King to the individual MPs. In any event, if the first round ends with no one having been able to show that he/she has the confidence of the majority. There may be a second round, third round...until someone emerges with the confidence of the majority..OR the King may dissolve the Parliament.

Who do you support to be Prime Minister? Well, that question may not achieve the desired results ...What if some say Anwar, some say Dr M?, etc..

Maybe if that was the question each MP is answering, then the results ought to be revealed..

And then the MPs may have discuss amongst themselves to choose ONE...

If the question was do you have confidence in Dr. M being the NEW PM - then we can see whether he has majority support or not?

The problem now, as mentioned earlier, we do know what questions are being asked by the King to individual MPs..


No - because the government comprises of three branches - The Executive(usually the Cabinet but in the absence of Cabinet it returns to the King who have also now appointed an 'interim' PM), the Legislature(MPs and Senators), and the Judiciary. So all is intact, save for the, it is wrong to say 'kerajaan bubar' or government dissolved.

There is really no good reason to dissolve Parliament and go for another General Elections ...All attempts should be made to get an MP with the confidence of the majority ...failing which, then maybe no choice but a GENERAL ELECTIONS.

How long will this process go on? Well, in Malaysia there is no time frame stipulated in any law... So, we need a law to fix the maximum duration - maybe 10 days, 20 days, 100 days ...well that is for us (or our Parliament to decide)

There is a need for many institutional reforms - including laws to fill in uncertainties ...We had a Commission (or body) that looked at this BUT their report and recommendation have been kept secret...

Anyway, wait and see what happens...This all are simply my opinion based on known facts or simple speculations..

See related posts:-

'Interim Prime Minister' - no legal justification or previous convention? AG's reported view flawed?




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