KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The legitimacy of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Prime Minister and Perikatan Nasional as the governing body is unquestionable until MPs cast their vote on a motion of confidence at next month’s Parliament session, say legal experts.
Former Federal Court Judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said statements expressing or withdrawing support for a political leader must be done in Parliament.
“Such statements have no effect in constitutional law. The floor of the Dewan Rakyat is the proper place to test the confidence. You see, even if 30 or 40 people make statements outside the Dewan (House), it amounts to nothing.”
He said this in response to the current political turmoil following the announcement by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the party’s decision to withdraw support for the Prime Minister and the Perikatan government.
Sri Ram said making statutory declarations to withdraw support for the Prime Minister was also useless because the current government was still in power.
“The Opposition (MPs) may vote to keep the government in power because they don’t want a general election. So, what happens on the floor of the Dewan Rakyat will ultimately decide whether the government has the confidence or no confidence (of the MPs). That’s all,” he said.
Similarly, lawyer Shahir Ab Razak said if there were a no-confidence motion made against the Prime Minister, it should also go through a voting process in Parliament, not through a mere statement outside the Dewan Rakyat.
“The most suitable medium to express support for the leader is Parliament. As long as the motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin is not tabled, debated and voted in Parliament, he will remain as the Prime Minister.
“According to the Umno president, they are not supporting Muhyiddin… but not all of them. So, if they go to Parliament, we can find out the exact number of those who support and who don’t.
“Muhyiddin will stay as the Prime Minister even if Umno withdraws its support for him,” he said.
Shahrir said Article 43(4) of the Federal Constitution also stated that if the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority members of the Dewan Rakyat, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet, unless, at his request, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament.
He said Muhyiddin’s move in announcing the tabling of a motion of confidence at the Parliament sitting next month was appropriate as it was a definitive way to resolve the issue that has been raised by many.
“Only through voting in Parliament can we ascertain whether or not the Prime Minister still commands the confidence of the majority of the MPs,” the lawyer added.
Meanwhile, National Professors Council senior fellow Dr Jeniri Amir said Muhyiddin’s bold announcement was very much welcomed as it was not only in line with the Constitution and the law, but also met the demands of all quarters.
“When the Prime Minister said he had informed the King and provided evidence that he still has the majority support from the MPs, this means that he has convincing evidence. The statement was made based on solid evidence and not a mere allegation.
“Now, Muhyiddin just needs to prove that he still has the majority support of the MPs and the Parliament process can ascertain that support,” he said, adding that only the motion of confidence would provide relief and restore the people’s trust that the political turmoil in the country can be solved properly. – Bernama