Tuesday, July 27, 2021

AG’s moral duty as govt’s chief lawyer to clarify constitutional issues, says Sarawak MP

Ali Biju says Idrus Harun should be commended for bringing clarity to the matter.

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Saratok MP Ali Biju today said the attorney-general has a moral and public duty to clarify issues regarding the constitution following criticism from top Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders who had accused Idrus Harun of treason after his statement on the constitutional monarchy.

Ali said Idrus had issued the statement in response to misleading views and opinions circulating among the public on the role of the monarch within the Federal Constitution.

“The AG in his capacity as the chief lawyer of the government not only has a moral duty but more importantly a public duty to clarify and explain to the Malaysian public the correct interpretation of the constitution and what constitutional monarchy means within the context of the Federal Constitution,” he said in a statement.

“The AG acted well within his role to bring clarity to the matter and for this he should be commended, not vilified.”

Idrus said last week that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong remains a constitutional monarch bound by the advice of the Cabinet despite the state of emergency.

He said while the ruler must exercise his power to summon a parliamentary proceeding as provided for under Article 55 of the Federal Constitution as well as the current emergency ordinance, this must be within his role as a constitutional monarch.

“As such, in accordance with the position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the constitutional monarch, the exercise of his power to convene Parliament shall be carried out on the advice of the Cabinet or the advice of a minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet, and in accordance with that advice, pursuant to Articles 40 (1) and (1A) of the Federal Constitution,” Idrus had said.

This followed separate statements by the Agong and the Malay rulers agreeing that a Parliament sitting should be held as quickly as possible to allow the emergency ordinances and National Recovery Plan to be debated in the Dewan Rakyat.

The state of emergency, which is expected to continue until August, was implemented in mid-January under Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

The PH Presidential Council yesterday said Idrus’ statement had slighted the views of the rulers and abandoned the spirit of the constitution.

“It also gives the impression that the attorney-general has snubbed the institution of the Malay rulers to protect a government that wishes to have absolute power without control or limit,” it said in the statement signed by PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

They also said Idrus’ act of issuing a statement instead of presenting his views to the Agong in private was tantamount to a breach of confidentiality between a lawyer and his client.

“The AG’s statement is an act of treason towards the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and he must be sacked immediately,” they said.

But Ali said the accusation of treason was “grossly misleading and yet another attempt at defrauding the Malaysian public”.

“Why demand he resigns when he was just doing his job?”

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