Monday, August 16, 2021

King's decision to appoint new PM and not dissolve Parliament averts most 'dangerous' scenario - But dangers of 'caretaker PM's dictatorship' still there?


Yes, the PM has met the King and tendered the RESIGNATION OF THE CABINET by reason of loss of confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament(MPs), and the King has accepted.

GOOD NEWS that the King CHOSE not to dissolve Parliament, but rather to try and identify a new Prime Minister. Remember, that if Parliament was dissolved until next General Elections, then the risk that a 'caretaker' Prime Minister may advice the King to proclaim another Emergency, for the objective, amongst others, to delay the General Elections by reason of Covid-19. During this period, Executive power really rests with that 'caretaker Prime Minister' who then also can bring about all kinds of Emergency Ordinances. REMEMBER in Malaysia, the King has to act on the advice of the Cabinet - and the Caretaker Prime Minister may be the one-man Executive, unless also he appoints a few others as members of the caretaker Cabinet, or he can simply rely on a team of advisers. How long will the process to identify and appoint next PM take?

Now, with the Parliament still intact - the check and balance provided by the Legislature remains. As Parliament is still operational, so Emergency Ordinances will have to go through Parliament still, unlike what we faced in the previous Emergency. If Parliament was dissolved, as we wait for the next General Elections, then we may have been in a more dire situation. See earlier post, that dealt with this concern - If PM Resigns, and NO MP with confidence of majority - a CRUCIAL concern? Parliament Dissolved? Emergency Again? Elections delayed indefinitely? 

This is certainly a better situation, as Parliament remains and we are just waiting for the King to appoint a new Prime Minister - not waiting for a General Elections.

But then, will there be any MP that is able to get the support of the majority for the King to appoint as the new Prime Minister.

Problem again is how does the King confirm this majority - Nowadays Statutory Declarations and Letters of Support signed by individual MPs seems to be 'worthless' - as MPs seems to change their minds so easily in hours sometimes. Remember, once when Anwar and PH claimed support of 114 MPs, and within hours a couple on those in the list came out and DENIED on social media 

So what do we do - SHOULD WE CLOISTER THEM 220 MPs and not allow them to leave until they choose an MP with the confidence of the majority to be Prime Minister. Maybe, better if it be by SECRET BALLOT. First round, ask for nominations. If 5 names nominated, then a secret ballot. The 3 with the highest vote will then go for the next round of voting, and so on. It all comes to an end if any PM candidate at any stage manages to get more than 110 votes...being it during the 1st vote or thereafter. Should the King do this? An idea to consider.

Not a problem really - as any PM can be removed at any time when he/she loses the confidence of the majority. 

Hopefully, the King is able to identify the MP which have the confidence of the majority FAST. Remember, he must just be considering the choice of the individual MP - not the party that MP is affiliated to...

So, what will the KING do now. In some countries, the practice is that the party with the highest number of MPs is given the first chance, and if we fails to do it within a stipulated time, say 2 days, the the 2nd Highest Party is given the chance ....thereafter, maybe the CLOISTERED IN A HALL UNTIL THE 220 MPs can decide on a PM. If everything fails, no choice but a General Elections.

Pakatan Harapan has 88 MPs, Perikatan Nasional has 50, and BN has 42 - these are all the main registered political parties

Parliament scheduled to meet on 6th or 7th September, and there, the FIRST PRIORITY of Parliament should be making the needed LAW or amendments to allow Parliament to continue sitting and carrying out its functions LEGALLY virtually/online without having to be physically present in the Dewan in Parliament. If Dewan Rakyat passes this law(amendment), then Senat should also sit FAST, and pass it - and then the AGUNG assents. This can be done in 3 days or even less. Foolish if Parliament does other things first - do they really want a functioning Parliament?

The RISK of Parliament being adjourned by reason of Covid-19 infection is very REAL - and for MPs to even suggest that no matter how many cases detected, Parliament should continue to sit is unacceptable. After all, that is the current Standard Operating Procedure, or LAW for any other workplace or business premises - once a Covid infection detected, immediate shut down of premises for a certain number of days, de-sanitation - and all staff/present will be required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days(or is it less now). Are our PEOPLES' REPRESENTATIVE suggesting that they are above the law, or they should be treated differently from the rest of us? I really hope not - remember our constitution guarantees EQUALITY and  equal treatment under the law.

So, MPs, lets us FIRST make sure that Parliament can be able to continue to meet and function as needed. Remember also, even if another Emergency get declared, Parliament has to put in place needed LAWS(or Emergency Ordinances) needed to face this pandemic quickly. PN government, in my opinion, failed miserably to enact the needed laws to protect the people - mere statements of PM/Ministers/Government is useless to overcome existing laws and contracts/agreements. Is there even a law that makes this Covid-19 pandemic to be considered something, that allow us to rely on 'force majeure' - an unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. Are workers to use up their paid annual leaves, simply because they have been 'quarantined', they live in a PKPD area, etc - still no laws about this and many things...more about this in later posts.

AS, IT STANDS NOW, THE KING HAS MADE THE RIGHT DECISION IN NOT SUSPENDING PARLIAMENT, RATHER TO SIMPLY FIND AND APPOINT A NEW PRIME MINISTER. But some problems will arise, if there will not be any MP with the needed majority, or if the process of identifying/appointing new PM takes too long. A PM(even a caretaker PM) still do have the power - we risk the 'Dictatorship of the Care-Taker PM' - who still may have the power to advise the King to declare another Emergency, to again 'suspend Parliament', and even delay General Elections for a very very long time....Even if such actions may later be considered 'illegal' by Courts but it may simply be too late.  

This is but my OPINION and concerns

Agong accepts PM's resignation, Muhyiddin is now caretaker PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has accepted Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's resignation along with his cabinet today.

In a statement posted on the Istana Negara Facebook page today, Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King has consented to Muhyiddin taking over the role of caretaker prime minister until his successor is appointed.

The Ruler also opined that the execution of the 15th General Election (GE15) is not the best option (to appoint a new government) after taking into consideration the safety and wellbeing of the people during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is in accordance with Article 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution which states that His Majesty must appoint a member of the Dewan Rakyat who in his opinion commands the confidence of the majority of Dewan Rakyat members as the new Prime Minister to chair the cabinet.

"His Majesty also expressed his appreciation to Muhyiddin and the cabinet members for their services to the country and the administration under Perikatan Nasional (PN) since March 1, 2020, especially in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As the Head of State, His Majesty understands and respects the country's legal system and processes and also respects any decision made by Muhyiddin in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the rule of law," the statement said.

Earlier at 12.30pm today, Muhyiddin had an audience with the King for 30 minutes, right after the caretaker prime minister chaired his last cabinet meeting this morning.

On GE15, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was of the opinion that a nationwide poll was not a viable option given the severity of the current pandemic.

During an audience with the King on Aug 10, the Election Commission chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh, according to the statement by the palace, had told the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that 79 per cent of state constituencies are currently under Covid-19 red zones.

"Therefore, His Majesty opined that the execution of GE15 is not the best option for the welfare and safety of the people.

"His Majesty conveyed his hope that the ongoing and endless political crisis that has disrupted the governance of the country will end for the sake of the people and the country's economy which are being threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic," he said. - New Straits Times, 16/8/2021



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