Thursday, March 4, 2021

No provisions for confidence motions in constitution, says law minister

Takiyuddin Hassan says it is up to the Agong to decide whether an individual still commands the confidence of the majority.

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There are no provisions in the Federal Constitution or the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders for procedures related to a motion of no confidence against the prime minister, law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said today.

He said it would be up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who has the royal prerogative to decide on the matter.

“Among others, the Agong can decide on the appropriate way to determine whether an individual in his opinion has the majority support of MPs.

“This includes through the submission of documents and written or oral statements by each MP,” he said at the close of the budget debate.

A total of 25 motions of no confidence are believed to have been accepted and included in the order of meeting for the third session of the 14th Parliament sitting.

However, Takiyuddin maintained that there are no provisions for the matter under the Federal Constitution.

“Clause Four of Article 43 of the constitution states that if the prime minister no longer possesses the majority support of MPs, he should resign from the Cabinet unless the Agong dissolves Parliament at his request,” he said.

“While this provides for a situation in which the prime minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the majority, it does not provide for the procedure of submitting a motion of no confidence against the prime minister.”

Takiyuddin said a no-confidence motion could be brought to the legislative assembly if it is in compliance with Standing Orders 26 (1) and 27 (3) regarding the requirements for notice of such motions.

This would also be subject to Standing Orders 14 and 15 on the arrangement of meetings and the need to prioritise government affairs.

He said it would be up to the speaker to determine when the debate on a motion can be held, taking into account these factors.

“Other matters, including private motions, will only be debated once government matters are completed.”

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