Speakers' Corner: Occasional contributions from readers, which do not necessarily reflect the views of Sarawak Report but may be published at the discretion of the site.

Is Malaysia A Parliamentary Democracy, Or Isn't It?

When the then Malaya asked for, and was granted, independent nation status in 1957 the agreed arrangements were based on the principle that the new nation would be a parliamentary democracy. That was also the basis of the establishment in 1963 of Malaysia to include the British colonies of Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah. Accordingly an agreed Constitution formed the basic law of the new State. And to emphasise its permanence and importance it was agreed that the Constitution could not be amended in any way without the support of two thirds of the members of its Parliament.

As a result any Malaysian government must respect the provisions of the Constitution. Or ought to, though recent events have raised considerable doubt about commitment to the Constitution. Leaving those manoeuvres to one side the present position is that an administration is in place which has to prove that it enjoys a parliamentary majority.

Any honest administration,and any honest Prime Minister, would, in these circumstances, call a vote of confidence at the earliest possible opportunity. Such opportunity will arise when the Assembly sits on the last legal constitutional date next month. The Prime Minister, appointed by the Agong, should, without having to be asked, call for a confidence vote. Not only would that determine his actual support in Parliament but, if he obtained its confidence that would restore public confidence in him and the Agong, neither of which is presently the case.

If the Prime Minister fails to seek the confidence of the Assembly that will  show that he knows that he does NOT enjoy it and the the Agong was either misled or failed in his constitutional duty. Malaysia would lose all pretensions to democracy and be regarded as would any other dictatorship established by force or fraud. There s no shortage of examples in the region starting with the PRC.

So this is much more than a sordid power grab by politicians obsessed with personal gain and the hope of avoiding imprisonment for past mega crimes. It is an attack on Malaysians of all political persuasions. A simple vote of confidence, if secured ,would provide respectability and validation. Why is it not being asked for?

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