The sidelining of Parliament from its proper role in government and the substitution of various versions of ‘Tuan says’ for the basic rules is rapidly obliterating any semblance of genuine democracy in Malaysia.
The reason, of course, is that the ‘wrong people’ won the last election and although the establishment has bought over enough of those to perform a ‘Perak Move’ (the over-turning of an election by bribing MPs to defect) their majority is far too wafer thin for them to risk proper scrutiny and oversight, let alone any possible defections back.
The excuses and mangling of due process by the PN coup interlopers have in the process become increasingly laughable and embarrassing, certainly to onlookers from genuine democracies. To begin with for most of the past two years Covid has been used as an excuse to suspend Parliament entirely.
The present argument is about whether there should be “allowed” a vote of confidence when the yet again postponed Parliament is finally allowed to sit – as opposed to being yet again postponed.
This is a decision for the leader of the Opposition, but who would know it reading the utterances and nonsenses coming in all directions from people with respectable appointments such as Law Minister and Attorney General?
By now anyone who didn’t know better would think it was somehow up to the King.
Given the King has continued to use the manufactured chaos to extend his constitutional reach well beyond its proper boundaries (appointing two individuals neither of whom were the leaders of a majority party nor represented the popular choice) there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t attempt to interfere.
However, the procedures of the Lower House have nothing whatsoever to do with him. His role ends with the appointment, after which it is up to MPs and the party leaders to decide if it reflects their views.
Anwar Ibrahim can call for a No Confidence Vote in the government at any time (except given Malaysia Parliament has been reduced to a pageant of a few days each year there remains this practical obstacle).
He may well have decided that after the last round of political bargaining, where UMNO have plainly offered safe-passage to a number of its criminally charged and convicted sitting MPs, this is not the time to do so. The slender majority may hold.
If he did call for one, the Speaker would be obliged (under the law at least) to make immediate space within very few days for this to happen under every rule and convention that exists.
Except, as we all know Malaysia has evolved a deformed system whereby the Prime Minister appoints the Speaker instead of him being elected by members of the house. The result, as everyone knows, is that this particular toady would polish his ‘art’ of spouting made up laws and excuses and announce it could not be done.
However, back to the present situation where everyone is genuflecting to the King. It was an unwise gambit for certain members of the opposition to suggest the government was ‘disrespecting’ the King by not holding such a vote, when there is no evidence their leader has requested it.
Yet, instead of pointing that out, the PN flunkeys have sought to continue to hide under the skirts of a King who has no role in the matter. First the Attorney General questioned his own credentials to pronounce that to hold a vote would challenge the “Absolute Power” of the King to appoint a prime minister, as if it could not then be challenged as the Constitution specifically allows.
Next the new Law Minister has declared that although the King had earlier opined that he expected his decision to be voted on in Parliament (an acknowledgement of MPs right to reject it) he had now accepted the suggestion by the new Prime Minister that there doesn’t need to be a vote after all. Therefore, ‘reasoned’ Wan Junaidi, there is no need to hold a Vote of Confidence because the King has changed his mind!
It has nothing to do with the King. If the Leader of the Opposition puts forward a motion based on a calculation he won’t get egg on his face, that will be the moment that under the rules the Speaker ought to table such a motion. However, in the chaos of criminal intent that underpins the present governance in Malaysia all that will come is more ludicrous excuses.
Meanwhile, the poor people of Sarawak continue to languish under a State of Emergency, one of the last enactments of the previous failed PN PM in order to delay the state election.
The King agreed to it subject to the constitutional rules which were being much discussed at the time, namely that a State of Emergency should be voted on by Parliament as well. Yet with the schedule for the coming session now published there is no mention of the tabling of such a vote!
Has everyone just forgotten the matter as millions of people suffer in the state that no has the highest numbers of Covid, is being struck by floods and log-jams and is being managed by a group of politicians who have no right to govern since they have not yet been properly granted the emergency powers granted as required?
Instead, the GPS politicians appear by and large to be fully focused only on electioneering for when the moment finally comes, spreading Covid through the Kampongs in the process as they act in violation of their own SOPS.
It is notable then, there has been not so much as a squeak from the palace about Putrajaya’s omission of a vote on Sarawak’s emergency from the Order Paper. Has the Agong forgotten about the constitutionally based condition laid out in his royal extension? Or will he flip-flop on this demand too? It might seem that the King’s concerns are not so much for the national health and rule of law, but for instating leaders whose main concerns are protecting their interests and therefore his own?