Agong Emerges In True Colours No Holds Barred

The expenditure of the government now comes under Agong, as oversight, and he has also reminded the Speaker that he has full powers on suspending lawmakers who ‘monkey’ around in Parliament and disrespect the August House!

Commentary And Analysis . . . The Johor Sultan, newly installed in recent days as the Yang DiPertuan Agong (King), has had great start on proving that he would be “no puppet in the Istana (Palace) for five years”. He would study government expenditure as well, among other key areas, in helping bring down the national debt burden and doing away with a persistent budget deficit. More on government expenditure later.

Agong had maiden speech in Parliament on 26 February, deliberate study in being proactive, and fired initial warning shots across the bow in unusually blunt terms. It was unprecedented, almost revolutionary, from the Istana.

Let there be no mistake about it. There’s new mood at the Istana. There would be no more of Agong being nice guy with people who have been running amok for far too long, inside and outside Parliament, and indeed even not serving the people at all.

There are high expectations that lawmakers would be dignified at all times based on solemn Oath and respect the rule of law, the basis of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Agong remains fully behind the people, 32 million of them, and not the 222 lawmakers in Parliament. If lawmakers have silent majority, they show no sign that they don’t belong in the zoo as well, among the speechless primates, looking for bananas all the time when not swinging from tree to tree.

The Istana finds it shameful, and Agong even more shameful, being in the same House with the “monkey lawmakers” who show no respect for the Constitution. The court and the Constitution, being colour-blind, can’t get into theology, “race”, religion, DNA and geographical origin. Parliament has none of these elements. It has only lawmakers, elected by all, and pledged on Oath for serving all. There are no political parties in Parliament. Seats belong to lawmakers. It’s their property, protected by Article 13 (property rights), Article 5 (right to life), Article 8 (no discrimination) and Article 10 (freedom of speech, assembly and association).

Agong

Malaysia, unlike for example the United Kingdom which has no written/codified Constitution, was governed by constitutional supremacy, not parliamentary sovereignty. The sovereignty of Parliament lasts five years. No Parliament can bind future Parliament or be bound by previous Parliament.

The Agong, in stressing that the Speaker has full powers, wants lawmakers suspended and/or even removed if they monkey around in Parliament. The Speaker risks the head if he goes against Agong’s Decree. The Prime Minister has no choice but recommend replacement for the errant Speaker. Agong, in putting pressure on the Prime Minister, can always rethink the Decree on SD (statutory declaration) after GE15 in late November 2022.

The guessing game has started on which lawmakers will be among the first suspended and/or removed. The Opposition may be in for rough ride until GE16 in late 2027. The days of the Sheraton and Dubai moves are over.

Again, Agong decreed after GE15 in late November 2022 that SD (statutory declaration) was no proof of support.

Agong declared that he would oppose any attempts at destabilising the government and bringing it down. He sees the unity government, under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, finishing the five year term.

Expenditure

Still, any lawmaker can table confidence motion on the government. It’s unlikely that it would see the light of day. In fact, any government Bill can be confidence motion as well in the hung Parliament produced by GE15. Let’s not go there too much. It would be exercise in futility against the power of incumbency.

Expenditure, or no expenditure, the war chests are overflowing on the government side. The Opposition can be emasculated under laws on money laundering and “secret profits”. Agong, or no Agong, all was fair and square in love, war and politics.

Rogue Lawmakers

There have been any number of lawmakers especially from DAP, and rogue members of the Bar Council, openly questioning the Agong on Decree, based on Discretion, for Freedom and/or Pardon. Agong’s Decree, Discretion, and Pardon aren’t law. No court in the world can go against Agong. The court, Constitution or no Constitution, has no jurisdiction on the matter. They are not for judicial consideration and resolution. The court of law was only about law.

Agong, on 29 January, halved the jail sentence of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. He was jailed, unrepresented, and awaits UN Review on arbitrary detention.

Agong will decide soon on whether Najib merits one third remission and leave jail on 23 August this year. Under the original 12 year jail sentence, Najib serves only half the remaining eight years, after one third remission. He walks free on 23 August 2026. Under the halving, if there’s no one third remission, he would be free on 23 August 2028. That’s the date mentioned in the “flawed” Pardons’ Board letter on the 29 January meeting. The Prisons’ Dept was copied. The details are in the following internal link.

Besides acting against those using unparliamentary language, the Speaker has Discretion — read carte blanche — on the errant being party to illegalities like indulging in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy and constitutional supremacy.

Checks And Balances

The checks and balances in government, allegedly done away by dictatorial former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, are back. The Agong, in observing that the national debt burden and government deficit hasn’t come down since 1998, will keep an eye on government expenditure i.e. no more virtually plundering the public treasury under various guises, euphemisms for public consumption.

The Agong, before taking up residence at the national Istana on 31 January, warned that he would go after all those who were involved in bribery and corruption. He wants both MACC and Petronas under his watch on the grounds that bribery and corruption continue, and that successive government has been dipping into Petronas income, revenue, resources and reserves at the expense of the people in Sabah and Sarawak in particular.

Human rights advocates in Sabah, in digressing a little, wants Agong’s intervention on the Projek IC Mahathir phenomenon explored by the 2013 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI). They want action taken against Mahathir for allegedly including illegal immigrants in the electoral rolls.

The NOP (notes of proceedings) from the RCI can be found in the newly-released explosive documentation, “Population Explosion And Demographic Shift In Sabah” by Dr Chong Eng Leong. The author, retired general medical surgeon, earlier produced “Lest We Forget” in 2009. It exposes Sabah’s extraordinary population growth, Project IC, and phantom voters.

Mahathir’s name has figured elsewhere prominently in public. The Agong has expressed punitive thoughts on the bribery and corruption phenomenon plaguing the nation since Mahathir became Prime Minister in 1981. Najib told the media after GE14 that “we all learnt from Mahathir. He was the Guru”.

All Risk Jail

The Agong feels that no one was too old, even at 100 years old, for experiencing life in jail. Mahathir, 99 years old on July 10, has dropped broad hints that he was prepared for dying in jail. No one can escape Karma. Mahathir’s past, no doubt, has caught up with him, and haunts the future. Already, MACC has asked Mirzan and Mokzani — two sons — for full accounting of assets since 1981 todate.

The dictatorial former Prime Minister risks jail under sedition charges, if not hanging for treason. The Cabinet has placed moratorium on the death penalty. There’s always first time. The exception could be made in Mahathir’s case on the grounds that “heinous crimes have been committed”.

Mahathir alleged more than once that the Istana sold land in the state and collected RM4b from people in China. The Sultan’s Forest City project on four reclaimed islands between Johor and Singapore came under Mahathir’s personal scrutiny, as Prime Minister, after GE14 on 9 May 2018. Investors took fright and the development lies virtually abandoned. It can only be revived under the new Agong from Johor.

Cookie Jar

Mahathir’s approach on government saw dept heads and CEO at GLC, GLIC and state-owned firms dipping their hands in the proverbial cookie jar, with impunity, as if it was their personal petty cash box. There was no openness, transparency and public accountability. Media reports show that the politicians would announce on the spot allocations, in the millions, without consulting the money managers in the civil service.

Mahathir, degenerating into highly personal and offensive remarks against the Johor Sultan in particular, said he never cared for the Sultan. The Sultan, he alleged, would not protect the local ummah as the spiritual head. Instead, Mahathir charged, the Sultan preferred doing business with the Chinese diaspora in the country. “The Chinese can fill the Sultan’s pockets with money,” said Mahathir, more than once in the media, although he stays in glasshouse.

Mahathir, in earning the displeasure of the Selangor Sultan in particular, has previously used the term “Bugis pirates”. He was taking a dig at Najib being hailed as “brave Bugis warrior”. — NMH

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