Sunday, September 21, 2008

* Wednesday 24th September 2008 *

* Wednesday 24th September 2008 *

After lording over the Rakyat and ruling high & mighty for the last 50 years, it's most difficult to comprehend and accept Reality face-to-face, that it's time to hand-over the Power-Reigns to the Voice of the People, People-Power, Pakatan Rakyat, the People's Govt-of-Choice!
With the previous Ameno-led Govt having the Minority alliance, the newly elected PR Govt, being the Majority coalition, will then seek an audience with the Agung, the King & Monarch of the country, to officially welcome the new PR Govt, as the new Govt of the day!
After having formed the new PR Govt, a fresh election will be called, the PRU-ke13.

* Kami sokong Saudara Anwar Ibrahim jadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia! Syabas & Tahniah kepada DSAI & PR!
* (3 x sorak) untuk Saudara Anwar Ibrahim!
(Hip-Hip Hooray! x 3 , Anwar untk PM! x 3 , Hidup Pakatan Rakyat! x 3 , Hidup Rakyat Malaysia! x 3 , Hidup DSAI! x 3)

1 comment:

Swee Lee said...

Getting to Putrajaya:Parliamentary Games
21

09

2008
By a Washingtonian



There is considerable confusion and misinformation concerning the scope of constitutional provisions and practices pertaining to the formation of a Government as there few Malaysian conventions or traditions. It has been suggested by some commentators that in the present situation, if the BN Government were to deny convening a session of the Dewan Raakyat and allowing Anwar to table a motion of no confidence, Anwar’s only option would be to seek the intervention of the Agong.

Commentators have suggested that the Agong could call for a special session of the Dewan; other suggestions are that the Agong upon being shown a list of MPs aligned to the Pakatan, could call on Anwar to form a Government. This would imply that the present Government would be dismissed. These suggested courses of action are in error. Neither the constitution nor practice and precedents in other Commonwealth countries support these assertions.

The only way that Anwar can emphatically demonstrate that he commands a majority in the Dewan is by either winning a vote of no-confidence, or by defeating the Government when a substantive Bill or Government motion is introduced. As the Government is unlikely to permit the tabling of an opposition motion, Anwar is left with no option but to seek the defeat of a Government sponsored motion or Bill.

Given that there are no Malaysian precedents, it is necessary to look to the practices in other countries with similar constitutions and parliamentary traditions. A fundamental concept at the heart of the British Parliamentary system is the notion that a member of the lower house (House of Commons or the Dewan Rakayat in the Malaysian case) who appears to commands majority support gets invited by the sovereign to form the Government.

The sovereign has some discretionary powers in determining who commands majority support. In the exercise of that discretionary power, the ruler can and often consults with elders in the party if a clear choice does not exist, namely that there is no easily identifiable leader of a Party. The case is best illustrated in the UK situation when Sir Anthony Eden resigned and the Conservative Party had no clear leader.

The Queen had to choose between Harold Macmillan or R.A. Butler (both senior members of the Conservative Party) who had equal claims to leading a Government. Her Majesty sent for Harold Macmillan after consulting with elders in the Party and asked him to form a Government.

It should be further observed that under the Westminster system the sovereign has no right to dismiss the Prime Mister/Government so long as he/it enjoys a majority in the legislature. The only instance in which an incumbent Prime Minister was dismissed is the case of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of Australia. However, the circumstances were unique. While Whitlam and the Labor Party had a majority in the House of Representatives, they had lost a majority in the Senate. Government business could not be transacted; there was a stalemate.

The Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Whitlam and invited the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, to form a Government. Fraser soon after sought dissolution of Parliament and went on to win the ensuing election. This precedent cannot be applied in the current Malaysian situation as the BN continues to have a seeming majority.

As Malaysia has not experienced a change of Government in its short history, it must inevitably turn to practices and conventions ingrained in the British Westminster model that also exists in other Commonwealth countries.

The circumstances under which an incumbent Prime Minister loses power can be summarized as follows:

He and his party lose a majority via an election defeat. The leader of the opposition, with a new majority lays claim to form a new Government. (Tony Blair after defeating John Major)

He/she loses the confidence of his party and no longer commands a majority in the Party (Margaret Thatcher) and is forced to make way for another leader from within th party. (John Major)

He/she loses a vote in the House on a major bill. The vote can be on a motion of confidence or a substantive Bill. The Government is defeated and the PM’s options are: a) resign the leadership of the Party and make way for a new leader who would then seek a mandate from the ruler to form a government b) recommend to the Ruler the need for a snap election.

In the event he does not agree, the sovereign has the option to invite a member of the house (including someone from the Opposition) who in the judgment of the Ruler can cobble a majority. In rare circumstances the Ruler may invite someone who has broad support short of a majority – leading to the formation of a minority Government.

Anwar Ibrahim’s game plan is to gain a majority in the Dewan through defections from the BN. Once armed with a majority he aspires to demonstrate to the Agong that he can and should form a new Government. The demonstration could take two forms: a) submission of a list of supporters or b) through a defeat of the government in a parliamentary vote. The first of these is unlikely to be sufficient to convince the Agong who is like to point to the need for a parliamentary vote that conclusively demonstrates that Anwar has a majority.

t is also clear that Anwar’s game plan calls for defections, followed by a vote of no confidence in the Dewan. This is confirmed by his demand that the House be recalled into session on September 23. However, Abdullah is unlikely to accede. Abdullah has stated that the Dewan will meet as previously set on October 13.

Indeed, there are two further possible scenarios. Abdullah could postpone the session by as much as six months thus preventing Anwar from testing his augmented majority. However, this is unlikely as Parliament must deal with urgent business e.g. the passing of the 2009 budget. In the second scenario, the Dewan convenes as scheduled and takes up Government business e.g. debate on the 2009 Budget which must be passed before year end to enable the Government to be continued with funding.

The Speaker under these circumstances may not permit the tabling of a no confidence motion. He could with some justification argue that Government business must take precedence. This would thus stop Anwar from toppling the Government by way of a no confidence vote. By disallowing the tabling of a no confidence motion, Abdullah could survive at least until the UMNO elections in December and use the time gained to wean back possible defectors.

Assuming that Anwar is able to defeat a government bill, Anwar could still be prevented from assuming office. He could be stopped if Abdullah advises the Agong to dissolve Parliament and that advice is accepted – the Agong has the discretion to reject that advice and only then can he summon Anwar to form a new Government. In this event Anwar would as a first act need to seek a vote of confidence in the Dewan.

Based on the analysis above, Anwar’s best option would be to use his majority (PR 81 plus 31 defectors) to defeat the Government on a major Parliamentary Bill as soon as the opportunity arises e.g. the DNA Bill or better still to use his new majority to defeat the Government on the Supply Bill (Budget appropriations.). The BN Government must have the appropriations as without these the machinery of Government would come to a screeching halt. A defeat under these circumstances would trigger a collapse of the BN Government and its resignation would lead to either an election or the formation of a PR Government.

In brief, Anwar’s best option is to defeat the government on a Parliamentary bill as he is unlikely to be given the opportunity to table a motion of no confidence being introduced because of the current total control that the BN has over parliamentary business. A compliant Speaker is unlikely to allow the introduction of motions submitted by the Opposition. Anwar cannot count on an intervention by the Agong by way of a dismissal of the present Government as such an action would not be constitutionally correct. Thus, Anwar’s route to power must be via inflicting a parliamentary defeat in the Dewan Rakyat.

___________________

I thank Washingtonian for taking the trouble to pen his thoughts on the changeover of government in Malaysia. His concern for Malaysia is a clear demonstration of his desire to see a peaceful transition. We in Malaysia too want a peaceful and orderly change. The present state of political uncertainty and repression via the draconian Internal Security Act is not good for anyone, including foreign investors and other friends of Malaysia.


I am not a lawyer or a constitutional expert. But I tend to take the side of Prof. Dr. Aziz Bari. I believe that while there are no direct precedents, traditions or conventions in Malaysia and believing the British and Australian experiences may not be appropriate in our case, His Majesty The Yang diPertuan Agong (our King),in consultation with his brother Rulers if required and acting in the interest on the people of Malaysia can make a decision based on conclusive and irrefutable evidence that the present government led by Abdullah Badawi has lost the support of the majority in Parliament (Dewan Rakyat in this case).

His Majesty can, therefore, invite Anwar Ibrahim to form the next government. It may be recalled that based on their respective state constitutions, both the Sultans of Perak and Terengganu decided on their Menteri Besars, following the March 8 General Election.—Din Merican


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