15 May, 2008

Hopping Hurdles In The Way To Form Federal Govt ?

By Nor Hayati Muda

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Bernama) -- Over the last few weeks, there has been talk that the Opposition front may be in a position to form the next federal government given the not-so-robust majority of Barisan Nasional (BN) in Parliament after the 12th general election.

Debates and conversations on this probability or improbability have been taking centre stage of late among politicians, political analysts, business people and even people at the grassroots.

The BN has 140 seats or 63.1 per cent of the total number of 222 seats.

It garnered 4.082 million votes during the election or 50.6 per cent of the popular vote.

If Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is to be believed, then perhaps he may have made it sound rather relatively easy with his contention that all the Opposition alliance needs is just 30 Members of Parliament from the BN to cross over.

They could then form the next government based on a simple majority.

At present, the Opposition has 82 seats including one independent MP.

Anwar has been reportedly saying that his party had managed to entice a number of MPs who would be willing to jump across.

However, based on a document being distributed by some unknown quarters in Parliament today, the matter is not as easy as it seems.

The document, written by people who have a strong understanding of Constitutional Law, argues that the Opposition front, in order to achieve what it aims to do, has to overcome various hurdles in the form of several laws in the Federal Constitution.

According to the document, the number one obstacle is provided under Article 43(5), which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has no power to dismiss the prime minister.

But if the prime minister ceases to command the confidence of the Dewan Rakyat, then the prime minister must exercise one of several choices.

One is to submit the resignation of his entire government as provided for in Article 43(4) or advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat and call a new election as per Article 43(4).

But the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the discreton to refuse the advice to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat as stated in Article 40(2)(b).

In the event of this, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has to appoint someone who, in His Majesty's judgement, is likely to command the confidence of the Lower House.

The note also reveals that if the prime minister were to lose in a snap vote of confidence but is able to re-group his supporters and rebuild a majority, he is eligible to be reappointed again as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has some discretion on who is best able to command the confidence of the Lower House.

Another obstacle for the Opposition is that no extra-parliamentary dismisal is possible unless the Dewan Rakyat dismisses the prime minister as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has no power to remove the prime minister (Article 43(5)).

To reinforce its contention, the document cited the case of then Sarawak Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan versus the then Sarawak Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Abang Haji Openg in Sarawak in 1966, which confirmed that unless there was a vote of no-confidence, a valid appointment cannot be revoked by the Yang Dipertua Negeri.

The document also pointed out that if the Dewan Rakyat were to be dissolved, then the previous prime minister would remain in office in a caretaker government capacity.

Although this was not laid down in the Constitution, it was a well established constitutional convention in the United Kingdom (UK), Malaysia and throughout the Commonwealth, it argued.

In addition, the document also argued that the inability of a party to secure a two-third majority did not hamper law-making or the passing of the federal government's budget.

"In the UK, governments come to power with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote and with a base majority in the elected House. This is not the first time that the Alliance-BN did not gain a two-third majority.

In 1969, the Alliance failed to secure more than 50 per cent of the votes and failed to obtain a two-third majority.

Tun Abdul Razak administered the country from Feb 20 1971 to the 1974 elections on a simple majority in the Dewan Rakyat," it stated.

At the same time, the document also pointed out that in the case of Nordin Salleh (1994), the Supreme Court held that the Kelantan anti-hopping law was a breach of freedom guaranteed by Article 10(1)(c).

Nordin, then the PAS state assemblyman for Sungei Pinang, joined Umno in 1992.

The Kelantan state government then enacted an anti-hopping law for politicians but the Supreme Court later ruled that it was unconstitutional.

The way to overcome this judicial decision is possible through a number of ways.

One is to have a constitutional amendment to Article 10 (2)(c) to forbid party-hopping.

But in the present political context, BN, without a two-third majority, may not be possible to secure this amendment.

The other is to promulgate an Emergency Ordinance under Article 150(2B) to provide for anyone who has been expelled or who resigns from the party on whose ticket he or she was elected to the Dewan Rakyat to vacate his or her seat and return to the electorate in a by-election.

Alternatively, a law can be promulgated to ensure that the "hopper" is disqualified to contest for five years and this will be similar to Article 48(6), which deals with MPs who resign from the Dewan Rakyat.

The note further explains that an emergency ordinance is an executive piece of law-making outside of Parliament, which only requires the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's assent.

It can be enacted if two requirements are met -- that there is an emergency in the country and that the two Houses of Parliament are not sitting concurrently.

This ordinance can be justified as a "collapse of civil government" is also a form of "emergency" as laid down by the Privy Council in the Stephen Kalong Ningkan versus the Government of Malaysia (1968) case.


Disrespectful to Islam? Porah !,

No, Karpal Singh was not disrespectful to Islam. Karpal Singh is as ‘Islamic’ as they come. Karpal Singh has done what 15 million Malay Muslims would not do. Karpal Singh has done what 15 million Malay Muslims should have done.

To insult or defy Rulers goes against Islam, say the men of the cloth. Is this so? Well, then Rosmah, the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, has committed a serious crime and should be punished. Rosmah phoned His Highness the Sultan of Selangor and scolded him. Rosmah spoke to His Highness the way you would scold a dog that shit on your new carpet.

Rosmah is angry that Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin wrote an article called Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell. And Rosmah phoned His Highness the Sultan of Selangor and shouted at him. That is worse than what Karpal Singh did.

Rosmah wants to become the ‘First Lady’ of Malaysia even though the First Lady is the Agong’s consort. But Rosmah has committed treason against the Ruler. 200 years ago Rosmah would have been put to death. Today she will be rewarded with a RM100 million budget to renovate the Prime Minister’s residence in Putrajaya when her husband becomes Prime Minister.

And Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin now challenges Rosmah for her to deny this allegation. Or maybe she would like to make a police report instead. That is what they normally do anyway when they are not able to reply. Porah Rosmah. Please don’t phone my cousin His Highness the Sultan of Selangor. Please don’t shout at my cousin His Highness the Sultan of Selangor. The Perak Mufti said that if you do that then you are disrespectful to Islam. You are only the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister who shall never become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. This quarrel is between you and me. Leave my cousin His Highness the Sultan of Selangor out of it.

More Read here

Meanwhile, The government has no plans to amend its policy based on the spirit of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which is aimed at improving the socio-economic lot of not only Bumiputeras but also Malaysians of Indian origin, the Orang Asli and minority groups in Sabah and Sarawak, the Dewan Rakyat was told tody.

The successful realisation of the aims of the spirit of the NEP will contribute towards solidifying national solidarity, which is the most vital asset for a complex society like Malaysia's in continuing the march towards further progress beyond 2020.



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