A vocal Sarawak MP says he finds it “ridiculous” that a lawyer has joined hands with two Amanah MPs in rejecting Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) demand for a Cabinet free of corruption-tainted individuals.
Saratok MP Ali Biju said the stand by Ambiga Sreenevasan, Mahfuz Omar and Hanipa Maidin questioning the validity of Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s majority support among MPs was not only in violation of the constitutional provision requiring the Agong to appoint a prime minister based on majority support, but also called into question their commitment to a clean government.
“It is astonishing that Mahfuz, Hanipa, and Ambiga who was a former Bar president, have taken this extreme and illogical position; one would have thought that they would have warmly welcomed the support of PN for a clean government as well as the independence of judiciary. Instead their desperation for PH to take federal power has driven them all to a new low,” Ali said.
This comes after Ambiga echoed the stand of Mahfuz in questioning the validity of the PN coalition’s stand that the 50 MPs under its banner would support Ismail’s candidacy for the top post as long as individuals facing corruption charges are not part of the administration.
PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin had also said that the next prime minister should uphold the principles of separation of powers, independence of judiciary and constitutional monarchy.
But Mahfuz argued that such a condition made PN’s votes invalid, and cited a letter by the Dewan Rakyat speaker to MPs telling them to individually submit their choice of prime minister.
The speaker, advising MPs on the format of their letters to the Agong, said they must clearly state their choice without any reservations besides ensuring confidentiality.
Ali said the argument by opposition supporters was “absurd, baseless and a measure of PH’s desperation at failing to gather enough support to claim the post of prime minister”.
He said the demands by PN meanwhile were based on the constitution.
“Any coalition that takes power in Malaysia must in any event adhere to these conditions. No decent reasonable person, MP or political party, can possibly object to it.
“Are Pakatan Harapan and Ambiga now against clean government and independence of the judiciary?” he asked.
Ali said MPs in their meeting with the Agong yesterday had also reiterated their choice of prime minister.
“Mahfuz, Hanipa and Ambiga totally disregard the purport of Article 43(2)(a), which is that the support for prime minister is gauged by the stand of members of the Dewan Rakyat individually,” he said, referring to a provision under constitution on the Agong’s duty to appoint as prime minister “who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority”.
“And this stand has been disclosed to the king twice over by the MPs,” said Ali.