Statutory declarations are rumours, political polemics

Dr Wan Junaidi

KUCHING: Malaysians cannot allow the country to be managed through statutory declarations and claims by individuals and politicians, whether MPs or groups of MPs outside Parliament, said senior parliamentarian Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He described such claims as ‘rumours and political polemics’.

Wan Junaidi was commenting on the current political imbroglio following United Malays National Organisation (Umno) president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s announcement on the party’s decision to withdraw support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

“The right institution to verify support for the Prime Minister is Parliament; not outside,” said the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister on Friday (13 Aug).

He believed it was a serious mistake to allow the use of statutory declarations and other means to verify the support of MPs for a sitting Prime Minister outside of Parliament.

He pointed out that it was the exclusive purview of Parliament to test the confidence of MPs on the Prime Minister, as being practised in other Commonwealth countries that apply the Westminster model of government.

Wan Junaidi noted that the motion of confidence had been used at least twice in the Dewan Rakyat, the last one being to test the acceptance of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister then.

“If the Prime Minister loses the support of the majority, then the provision of Article 43(4) applies, that is, ‘…unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet’,” he said.

He said it was very clear that the Federal Constitution provides that the Prime Minister may request for the dissolution of Parliament and he shall resign.

“But if you look at the provision of Article 40(2)(b), the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may withhold consent to the request for the dissolution of Parliament. What it means is that after the Prime Minister resigns which he should after the vote of confidence is not in his favour,” he said.

Then, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would have to choose a new Prime Minister under Article 43(2)(a), whom in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority, he explained.

“But looking at the blocks of support now, it would be a tough job for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to choose. Muhyiddin currently has the biggest block support and next is Anwar (Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) while the rest are not in the league at all,” he said.

Wan Junaidi, who is also former Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker, said following the current political polemic, a new government would not be a stable government and the nation will face bigger problems – if not a tragedy – considering Covid-19 and the economic issues being faced now.

“Therefore, it would be better for the present government to be allowed to continue before the term ends in 2023 as a legitimate minority government to handle the Covid-19 and the economic problems.

“Politicians in most countries of the world are helping their government to overcome the Covid-19 and economic problems, except Malaysia where politicians are making all-out efforts to destroy the sitting government instead of supporting it,” he lamented.