The Dubai Move instigators abroad can be brought back through Interpol for hanging or locked up for good and/or institutionalised for life and thereby help keep the public from harm!
Commentary And Analysis . . . Ideally, no one should risk sedition and treason charges, allegedly for activities — read Dubai Move — detrimental to parliamentary democracy, and/or for attempting the overthrow of lawfully established government. Treason merits hanging.
Sedition charges bring jail and fine, further jail if there’s default on the fine.
There’s also institutionalisation for life and thereby helping keep the public from harm.
There may be case going forward, in the wake of the purported Dubai Move (Langkah Dubai) and inconclusive general election results and/or hung Parliament after GE14 and GE15, for selection of the Prime Minister by Parliament. More on the Dubai Move later.
There should be at least three candidates, by convention in Commonwealth jurisdiction and parliamentary procedures, in the fray. At least one candidate should be a woman and another from the former British Borneo. In law, Article 8 in Malaysia, there can be no discrimination. There can be no one above the law and all are equal before the law.
If no candidate gets at least 51 per cent of the votes cast in Parliament, there should be runoff between the top two candidates. The quorum, based on parliamentary procedures, calls for at least 26 MPs present, even if not voting. More on Parliament later.
The Agong decreed after GE15 in late November 2022 that SD (statutory declaration) was no proof of support. He appointed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister and made two suggestions viz. form unity government; and seek support in Parliament. Anwar’s appointment wasn’t based on the confidence of the majority of lawmakers in him. It was based on the Agong’s confidence in him. Anwar won voice vote in Parliament on confidence motion introduced by the government side.
Hanging For Dubai Move
The Dubai Move instigators abroad can be brought back through Interpol for hanging or locked up for good and/or institutionalised for life and thereby help keep the public from harm. They risk multiple consequences for plotting with Satan viz. jail and fine, and further jail in default on fine, or hanging for sedition and/or treason.
The Agong, Constitution or no Constitution, has Discretion on the appointment of the Prime Minister by convention i.e. the working of the Constitution. Convention, like Discretion, isn’t law. Convention, in fact, was more important than the Constitution.
Then, there’s related Protocol as well which sees the Caretaker Prime Minister being given first opportunity for refusal if election results are inconclusive. Alternatively, the Caretaker Prime Minister — like the Prime Minister — can only offer resignation at the Istana face-to-face with the Agong.
We have brief, but only necessary extract, as follows from the above internal link.
The Protocol, and no doubt convention, was forgotten after GE14 when Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wasn’t invited, as incumbent, for forming the Federal government. Although he had only 79 parliamentary seats, based on the Mantra chanted on the other side of the Southeast Asia Sea, Sabah and Sarawak would have thrown their support behind him.
Breach of Protocol
There was further breach of Protocol, and convention, when Najib did not call on the Agong before Mahathir was appointed Prime Minister. Mahathir, ironically, had only 12 parliamentary seats and an Independent with him. The Agong felt that Datin Seri Wan Azizah, who had 50 parliamentary seats under the PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) symbol, should be Prime Minister.
The Istana may have realised better late than never, given the Decree in late November 2022 on SD, that it was grave strategic error, indeed fatal flaw in law and certainly unsafe, when it did not remain above the fray after GE14 on Wednesday 9 May 2018 which produced hung Parliament.
The Istana, being caught in moment of weakness, caved in and various parties prevailed on the Agong who played referee. He didn’t win any credits with the people. Some netizens were nabbed for hurling insults at the Istana.
Briefly, following GE14 the rest was even more history, as three Prime Ministers followed in quick succession viz. Tun Mahathir Mohamad (2018 to 2020), Tan Sri Muhyiddin — Mahiaddin in birth cert — Yassin (2020 to 2021)and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri (2021 to 2022). All three candidates did not have consent of the governed for legitimacy. There was loss of sovereignty. Small groups exercised absolute power between GE14 and GE15.
The Dubai Move instigators may have a point on constitutional law, and jurisprudence, in harping on overthrowing the Prime Minister and government in Parliament. This may be afterthought. Earlier, they had purportedly gathered 120 SD (statutory declaration), in defiance of Agong’s Decree in late November 2022 after GE15. RM750m was mentioned in the social media for allegedly bribing the 120 MP and RM1b purportedly for the Istana.
The Speaker has wide discretion. He can and may remove lawmakers who violate the Oath and/or allegedly engage in seditious intent and treasonous behaviour in the form of activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy and constitutional supremacy.
Lawmakers are pledged on Oath. They serve all including those who didn’t vote for them. There’s no “race”, religion, colour, caste or political parties in Parliament.
The court, under Article 63 and the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, cannot interfere in the proceedings of Parliament. It can be argued that discretion does not exist if abuse of power can be proven. The court has no jurisdiction as Article 63 stands in the way.
Having said that, it’s pointless the Opposition citing the Constitution. We know what’s there in the supreme law of the land. Convention, discretion and protocol are equally important. They must be read together with the Constitution. The Constitution, for those unfamiliar, isn’t law. It has force of law as the ultimate political document for setting up the governing institutions of state.
The ultimate political documents in the Constitution, under Article 1(2) and the Definition of Federation in Article 160(2), are the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948, the Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957, and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA’63). The MA’63 was only inserted in the Constitution just before GE15. Anwar as Prime Minister, and given adversarial position on Borneo rights, would not have allowed it.
Therein the matter lies.
Convention, discretion (prerogative powers included) and protocol are not law. Agong, being hereditary ruler, has discretion beyond discretion, based on residual and reserve powers. No court of law in the world will hear application on the said areas. The court has no jurisdiction. The said areas are not matters for judicial consideration and resolution. The court of law remains only about law i.e. upholding the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution. Opinion isn’t law. Only the court can declare law.
The court of law, briefly, isn’t about ethics, moral values, civilisational values, theology, sin, God, righteousness, justice or truth.
Again, no group of lawmakers can overthrow the government, for no rhyme or reason and/or out of the blue, in Parliament. The confidence motion, whether on confidence or no confidence, does happen but perhaps “once in a blue moon”. There must be special circumstances which the Speaker can accept. Also, once government has been set up, it’s still lawful if it becomes minority. There are precedents in Commonwealth jurisdiction.
Any lawmaker, based on convention and parliamentary procedure/s, can file confidence motion, whether for confidence or no confidence.
The Speaker may, may not expedite the matter, if filed by the parliamentary opposition leader. If expedited, it may be heard first or after government business has been done. If heard later, the motion will be tucked after government business and either heard last, or not heard at all. There’s no reason for the parliamentary opposition leader to file confidence motion. The Opposition will only file no confidence motion.
Alternatively, if there’s quorum, the Opposition can vote against an important government Bill like the annual budget. Again, parliamentary procedures in Malaysia call for at least 26 MPs present, whether voting or otherwise.
Dubai Move or no Dubai Move, the Opposition lawmakers must give reasons, during the budget speech for example, for voting against the Budget. If the Budget Bill fails, the government need not resign. It can simply withdraw the Bill for amendment/s and re-table it. The Budget if amended for re-tabling would be considered passed, by voice vote, with or without the Opposition. — NMH
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.