This is taken from the visitor’s book at His Majesty’s website, a comment written by Kim Quek, a profilic Malaysian political commentator:
E-mail address: kimquek(at)hotmail.com
Comments: PERAK CONSTITUTION CRISIS FROM MISINTERPRETATION OF WORDS?
Urgent appeal to the Sultan to re-look the constitution.
06.02.2009, 1020 hrs.
Is it possible that a slight difference in wording between the state constitution of Perak and the federal constitution pertaining to the loss of confidence of Menteri Besar/Prime Minister has misled the Sultan of Perak into thinking that the constitutional requirement necessitating the Mentri Besar to resign has been fulfilled?
Judging from the Sultan’s statement explaining his decision to appoint a new mentri besar, that seems to be the case. Let me quote the relevant paragraph of the Sultan’s statement explaining why Mentri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin must step down:
“After meeting all the 31 assemblymen, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan of Perak was convinced that YAB Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the State Assembly members“
This statement would have been a correct interpretation of the constitution if applied to the Prime Minister, but an incorrect interpretation, if applied to the Mentri Besar. This is because the loss of confidence of the majority is prescribed differently in the two constitutions (relevant parts of the constitutions are shown at the end of this article).
Under the federal constitution, the loss of confidence refers to “members of the House of Representatives” whereas under the state constitution, it refers to “the Legislative Assembly.” This means that while the ascertainment of loss confidence can conducted outside Parliament (such as collective appearance before the Agung) in the federal case, it cannot be repeated in state case. In the state case, the loss of confidence must be ascertained within the state assembly, meaning through a vote of no confidence in the state assembly.
The reason why I said the Sultan could have been misled is that in his statement extracted above, he mentioned “the confidence of the majority of the State Assembly members”. Notice the statement refers to “State Assembly members”, and not to “State Assembly”
Under the circumstances, the Mentri Besar was right when he said that he was legally obliged to step down only when a motion of no confidence on him has been passed in the state assembly, but not otherwise.
And since the Mentri Besar has not resigned, any appointment of another Mentri Besar will be ultra vires the state constitution.
The swearing-in of another Mentri Besar is only few hours away from now (at 1530 hrs). Perhaps His Royal Highness can spare a few minutes to take another look at the two constitutions, so as to avert a major constitutional crisis?
The relevant extracts from the two constitutions are as follows:
Federal constitution: Article 43 (4): “the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.”
Perak state constitution: Artikel XVI(6): “the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly, then unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council”
Kim Quek’s Biography
Yong Thye Chong, better known among the public and his cohorts as Kim Quek, the famous author of Where to, Malaysia? A Future with Anwar’s Reformasi or Back to Mahathirism? (Kuala Lumpur, SIRD, 2005) with a forward written by none other than Anwar Ibrahim himself, is a Malaysian political commentator, who has written extensively on the Malaysian political scene since the watershed event of the sacking of Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, in the height of the Asian financial crisis.
His writings are analytical, perceptive and typically unsparing in his criticism of the rampant corruption and abuse of power that has been raging in Malaysia. Through such writings, he has brought rationality to bear on many important political and economic issues of the day.
Most notably his frequent articles have unmasked the façade orchestrated by the Barisan Nasional-controlled local media to whitewash a blundering and plundering regime. Kim Quek may therefore offer invaluable insights to those who wish to gain a more in-depth understanding of the true state of governance of Malaysia.
Political analyst James Wong said.:
“Kim Quek’s prolific writings had kept many Malaysians, including this blogger, sane or psychologically healthy during those years when the war-like propaganda – black, gray and white – churned out by the Umno-dominated regime and its many mouthpieces nearly succeeded in turning black white and white, black. In other words, Kim Quek has provided us with a powerful antidote to the anti-Anwar propaganda.”
Kim Quek’s writings have been regularly listed in the local websites such as Malaysiakini, Malaysia Today, Bungaraya (DAP), Harakahdaily, Laman Marhaen, etc. His articles and letters have also appeared in local and foreign publications such as HARAKAH, Seruan Keadilan, Aliran, Today (Singapore newspaper), Asian Wall Street Journal, etc.
Born in Singapore 1938, Kim Quek completed his higher education in University Malaya as Bachelor of Engineering in 1965. Kim Quek is a retired Chinese Malaysian accountant in his 60s. He is also very well converse in English and Chinese.
Kim Quek was married to Kew Man Noi in 1970. The couple has four daughters and a son. They are presently staying in Johor Bahru.
Tags: Biodata, Constitution, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin Datuk Seri Mohamma, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan of Perak, House of Representatives, Kim Quek, Legislative Assembly, Malaysia, Perak, Perak Constitution Crisis, Political Analyst, Politics, State Assembly, Sultan