Analyst dumbfounded by Anwar’s move to nullify provision

Kamarul-Zaman-anwwarPETALING JAYA: A political analyst said he was “dumbfounded” that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is trying to nullify a constitutional provision that allows bills to become law automatically after 30 days without the King’s assent because it was Anwar who steered the provision through Parliament 23 years ago.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, a senior lecturer of Universiti Utara Malaysia, said Anwar tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1994, which contained the provision, in the Dewan Rakyat on May 9, 1994 when he was the deputy prime minister and finance minister.

He quoted from the Hansard that Anwar told the Dewan Rakyat, when tabling the bill, that it aimed to “strengthen and clarify the principles of constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law”.

Anwar went on to state that the amendment “will also ensure the legal and judicial system will develop in line with the direction of the country as well as the values and local social reality”, said Kamarul in a statement published in HarakahDaily today.

Yesterday, Anwar applied to the Federal Court to declare null and void the Federal Constitution provision that allows bills to be automatically passed as law in 30 days, without the King’s assent.

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who represented her jailed husband, in filing his case at the Federal Court registry, said it was Anwar’s bid to restore constitutional democracy and fundamental rights.

He is seeking leave under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution from the Federal Court to question the validity of a few amendments made in 1983, 1984 and 1994 that removed the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s powers to give the final approval for bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat.

Anwar contended that Parliament has no power to pass such amendments as they took away the mandatory requirement for royal assent. He argued that royal assent forms the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

By that token, Anwar also wants the courts to declare that the National Security Council (NSC) Act, which became law in June 2016 without royal assent, is invalid.

He named the government as the sole respondent in this direct challenge.

Kamarul said it was clear Anwar was “desperate” in his political struggle to the extent of being willing to “swallow” his own words spoken in the Dewan Rakyat on May 9, 1994.

“What is more hilarious is the fact that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is (now repeating) the arguments used by Datuk Sukri Mohamed (the then Semangat 46 Kok Lanas MP) who he attacked ruthlessly at that time,” he said.

Sukri, who spoke out strongly against the amendment at that sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, called the bill a smear on the position of the Malay rulers.

The Semangat 46 MP also accused the government then of attempting to wrest the powers of the rulers and transfer them to the prime minister.