The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Council of Rulers can order the prime minister to prove his majority in Parliament to end doubts on his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s legitimacy, Mohd Shafie Apdal said.
In an interview with Malaysiakini, the Warisan president suggested that it is the only way left, given that officials who run Parliament have suppressed motions of no confidence from being tabled against Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Right now, we cannot change the government through Parliament. We can’t even have a vote of no confidence because the session does not allow for it and because the speaker does not allow the motion to be tabled.
“So, how else would we know if the government of the day has it (the majority) or not when this agenda (no-confidence vote) is not accepted?
The legitimacy of PN as the federal government has come into question after several ruling party MPs openly declared the withdrawal of their support for Muhyiddin, who is known to be clinging on to a thin majority since he was sworn into office in March last year.
However, attempts to make Muhyiddin prove that he commands enough support in the Dewan Rakyat have not been successful, primarily because its speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, who was chosen by Muhyiddin, kept putting motions of no confidence at the bottom of the agenda list – and which ends up not being tabled.
According to Shafie, there have been many examples where monarchs have stepped in to make sitting leaders prove their numbers and thus, their legitimacy.
He cited the 2009 constitutional crisis in Perak, which ended when the sultan of Perak met with state assemblypersons before he decided that Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin had ceased to command the confidence of the majority members of the State Legislative Assembly.
Shafie said that a power struggle had also taken place in the United Kingdom, after it’s then prime minister David Cameron resigned, where there was no clear majority in its Parliament between Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
“This has led Queen Elizabeth to interfere, where she told Parliament to make a decision, even if it is a minority government.
“And now we are seeing similar things in Tunisia, where the government there is a minority government, but it functions well,” he added.
The former Sabah chief minister said it is important that a stable government takes over from PN, which he claimed has failed to manage the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All members of the opposition are on the same page on the matter, he added, in that they agree PN has to be replaced.
Shafie mooted an interim government that is united and stable to govern the country until the situation is safe to return the mandate to the people.
“The people’s confidence in the leaders, the government is very important. But today, they have no confidence in PN.
“If we all can agree to put the people’s interest and the country first, then we can succeed to form an administration of a unity (government), on an interim basis.”
Shafie added: “Maybe for six months, or a year, or until the expiry of the Parliament term. But the focus would be on handling the Covid-19 and economic crisis.
“After that, when the number of people who have been vaccinated is enough, then we hold an election. The rakyat will determine who will be in power.”
BN MPs signed a letter supporting PN, not SDs, Nazri clarifies
Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz confirmed that a meeting among Umno MPs had taken place at Wisma Perwira – a building in Kuala Lumpur owned by the Defence Ministry – on Sunday.
However, he clarified that the MPs signed a letter of declaration, not a statutory declaration backing the Perikatan Nasional government.
“I confirm the meeting. But we did not sign any SDs. An SD can only be signed in front of a commissioner of oaths.
“We did a letter of declaration to defend the PN government,” Nazri (above) told Malaysiakini.
Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that 26 BN lawmakers including representatives from MCA and MIC attended the Sunday night meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
It was said that MCA president Wee Ka Siong also communicated with the participants at the meeting, via Zoom.
Sinar Harian, meanwhile, reported that 30 MPs attended the meet.
Prior to the meeting, Ismail Sabri confirmed a statement of support for Muhyiddin by 40 out of 42 BN MPs, which was issued after a meeting in Parliament last Thursday.
This came after a royal rebuke against PN had once again raised questions over its legitimacy as the government.
Ismail Sabri’s clarification followed a dispute raised by BN executive secretary Mohamad Sahfri Ab Aziz, who denounced the statement as fake and added that there was an issue with the use of the BN letterhead. MKINI