All weekend high-end limos with tinted windows have been drawing up outside the house of the present prime minister, who has now set himself against King and Parliament in a constitutional crisis of unprecedented proportions in Malaysia.
Inside have been MPs from the rag tag coalition of defectors and opportunists, which Mahiaddin has pulled together from across the spectrum. Many of the more established ones are millionaires, for which there is a reason. Amongst them are convicted criminals and several facing trial or corruption charges.
They are there to bargain with the prime minister, whose entire support has been purely transactional since the day he was appointed as a leader without a party, by a King who now plainly regrets his controversial choice.
So what is the topic. The pandemic? As Hadi (of the PAS ‘religious’ party) has explained, such things are up to Allah. What is being discussed is business and Covid is useful merely as an excuse to freeze the democratic process that ought months back to have shown up Mahiaddin for what he is – a usurper, unfit for office, who heads a minority of MPs who are largely crooks.
With his back now right against the wall, Mahiaddin is without doubt handing out massive ‘incentives’ to keep up the numbers behind his daring coup, whereby he has sidelined Parliament for a whole two years (if this latest attempt at closure succeeds) and raided the country’s coffers without oversight under the excuse of a Covid emergency that has got worse the more he has tightened his grip on untrammelled power.
This man will be reminding these MPs that if they manage to prolong him in office then he will have another 6 months before the Emergency Ordinances that were signed by the King in January lapse. This is the case because even though the State of Emergency has itself lapsed, those ordinances will continue if not revoked, thanks to the provisions of Article 150(7) of the federal constitution.
The continuing ordinances not only include a ‘Fake News’ law that allows PN to lock up and fine anyone who ‘issues fake news about’ (i.e. disagrees with) the now defunct state of emergency, but far more pertinently an adjustment to the National Fund Act to allow his government to raise as much money as it likes (unscrutinised in the absence of Parliament) on the excuse of combatting Covid!
Mahiaddin will plainly not hesitate to remind his visitors of the opportunities such residual powers will provide for him to raise and splurge billions, if necessary, on contracts to medical providers who don’t provide, on purchases of vaccines to be dispensed through companies that fail to dispense and so forth. They hardly need reminding.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, thanks to the popular fury resulting from the consequences of the corrupt management of a pandemic, the Agong has plainly come to regret appointing a prime minister who is forced to depend on tactics such as these.
He has been getting his share of the blame in the eyes of the public and that’s been causing concern amongst his fellow royals, who naturally wish to preserve a constitution that looks after all of them very nicely (as long as they justify their role).
It was the Agong, prompted by the Rulers therefore, who forced Mahiaddin to abide by his constitutional duty last week to at last call Parliament in order to ratify the state of emergency or at least six months later to belatedly approve its revocation.
Mahiaddin gave in to the recall, but realised he could not afford a vote.
Why? Because, even if he had managed by hook or (more likely) crook to win that vote, he would most likely lose another, since he doesn’t have a majority. What other reason could there be?
Worse, far worse as he would see it, if the State of Emergency were to be revoked rather than allowed to lapse, the ordinances he passed thanks to kingly support in January would be abruptly terminated rather than allowed to continue for six months.
The consequence would be that the freedom to raise billions without accountability would end. Immediately.
However, the King is now on Mahiaddin’s case as the country knows.
Prodded by popular fury and the consequential concern amongst fellow rulers, the King had quite sensibly “ordered” his appointee to do what the constitution requires and test both his majority and the Emergency Ordinance in Parliament now that the six months are up and decisions must be made.
Was the EO a success and should this state of affairs continue? MPs should vote. However, Mahiaddin knew what the answer would be on that, so he tried to dodge.
His excuse? After 18 months of Covid Malaysia has to be the remaining country in the world that has made zero provision for its MPs to operate safely in the pandemic. Apart from making sure they are all fully vaccinated of course, which all have been since March.
Malaysia has also made zero provisions for safe elections. The reason is that Mahiaddin neither wants MPs to sit nor have elections.
So this was the justification Mahiaddin used on Thursday, after the King had condemned him for lying and holding a sham event, for shutting the whole show down.
In a backdated statement, conveniently if belatedly endorsed by the Director General of Health, it was opined that massive ‘super-spreading individuals’ were somehow lurking specifically in Parliament who, although now identified and presumably removed, apparently constituted grave danger to vaccinated MPs.
This is the same DG who has conceded to the PM’s desire to allow factories, restaurants and all the rest to continue operating and pushing up Covid rates and deaths to unprecedented levels across Malaysia.
MPs have therefore not been given a chance to vote on anything at all let alone their own further suspension. Let’s guess – the majority would probably not agree.
However, there is a problem with this latest Mahiaddin ruse. As in other constitutions around the world based on Westminster rules, the closure or suspension (‘proroguing’) of Parliament is NOT the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but of the Head of State i.e. the King.
Mahiaddin issued his statement yesterday announcing the sudden closure of Parliament, which was due to sit on Monday, until further notice, entirely in his own name. There is no evidence whatsoever that this order gained Royal Assent.
Quite the opposite in fact. It is clear from the various utterances made by the palace over recent hours that the King is now adamant that he will not give his assent to further orders from the Mahiaddin regime until and unless these are ratified by Parliament.
That includes an emergency order released yesterday to prolong the state government in Sarawak beyond the constitutionally allowed term – owing again to Covid.
This means, that under the Constitution Mahiaddin’s statements suspending Parliament and issuing a State of Emergency in Sarawak have no legal basis….. Unless, the King steps forward to sign his Royal Assent.
Has he? If he has not, Mahiaddin’s actions are illegal. Oh Dear.