There has been much talk recently of PM Najib declaring emergency law so as to remain in power. The newly enacted NSC Act makes it easier for him to do so, but as previously written on this blog, the NSC Act pits the Chief Of Defence Forces against his Commander In Chief, The Yang DiPertuan Agong.
The Agong’s problems do not end there. He has a duty to defend the Islamic faith, at least by convention. He does at his installation, swear an oath to do so.
He is now faced with a situation where his prime minister ,and possibly his entire cabinet, have been clearly shown to be involved in stealing from his people, and then laundering that money to conceal the crime and further the theft. That cannot possibly be within the norms and morals of any faith, belief system, or system of values.
Faced with the possibility of his Chief Of Defence Forces and other defence chiefs enforcing martial law,he will have to balance staying aloof from the goings on in his country with his duties as Defender Of The Faith. As previously mentioned, there are constitutional grounds that allow him to act,indeed compel him to act (See references below).
In short, being the Defender Of The Faith in a country where his Islamic faith is increasingly a factor in the daily lives of all adds to the Agong’s duties.Given the circumstances, he may not only have to sack his prime minister and cabinet, but also have to place them in custody, using the offices of his Provost Marshall.
Even PM Najib accepts that there is nothing in law that prevents the Agong from sacking a sitting PM
by Ganesh Sahathevan
These are the words of PM Najib with regards the Citizens’ Declaration presented the Agong:
“In the meeting His Highness took notice of the matter that was brought up by Mahathir. However, the Agong explained to Mahathir that he cannot be involved in what Bersatu is doing.
“This is as the declaration made by Bersatu was not in accordance with the constitution. Any action should be in line with accepted practices via the parliament and electoral system for the rakyat to make their decision,”
The statement is interesting in that Najib sights “accepted practices” and not the Constitution or any other relevant law.In addition , he incorrectly declares the Bersatu declaration “not in accordance with the constitution”, when it should be obvious even to him that there is nothing unconstitutional or illegal about anyone or group petitioning the Agong.
The matter of “accepted practices” or convention has been discussed before in a previous posting where it has been pointed out that convention in the Malay context demands that the limits of the Agong’s powers be not questioned.
Hence, Najib’s reliance on convention rather than law in defence of his position is curious, to say the least.
Friday, October 7, 2016
Agong can sack a sitting PM, and Conference of Rulers can remove Agong when he fails to do so.
by Ganesh Sahathevan
Given that Malaysia’s Supreme Ruler or Yang DiPertuan Agong is elected every five years by the Conference of Rulers from among its members, it follows that it is the best interest of the sultans that no one person when elected as Agong act in any way that might be detrimental to their collective interest.
In fact, it does appear as if this right to protect , even defend, their collective interest is provided for in the Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia,which states in Article 38(6)(a):
The members of the Conference of Rulers may act in their discretion in any proceedings relating to the following functions, that is to say;
(a) the election or removal from office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the election of the Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong;
There does not appear to be any other provision in the Constitution that limits their discretion.
The 14th and current Yang di-Pertuan Agong , Sultan Abdul Halim of Kedah, faces a situation where the exercise of his Constitutional and reserve powers are under intense scrutiny given the 1MDB scandal that implicates his prime minister Najib Razak in theft, money laundering and various other criminal matters that are being investigated in a number of jurisdictions. At stake is the proper governance of his country, and he faces ongoing calls from his people to dismiss his prime minister who has entrenched himself using both political machinery and legislation.The latter has involved the introduction of the National Security Council Act ,which the Conference Of Rulers advised should not be passed without “refinement”. In addition, the Agong has been presented with a petition containing 1.3 million signatures imploring him to act.It has been reported that he has refused to consider that petition.
The Agong’s refusal has implications for future holders of that office and the Conference Of Rulers as a whole for he oversees both an erosion of powers and a loss of confidence of their subjects.
That loss of confidence will lead to questions about the relevance of the institution of the sultanate ,and surely they must already realize that these questions are in fact being raised. The Conference Of Rulers is clearly in that situation where it has to consider removing the Agong, and perhaps his soon to be appointed successor should he persist in his predecessor’s behaviour, in order to preserve the institution of the sultanate, hereditary rule,and all the privileges that come with it.