Ex-judge: Senators who voted to keep Anti-Fake News Act can be sacked

Gopal Sri Ram has called for the sacking of the federal appointed senators who voted against a motion to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to sack the federal appointed senators who voted against a motion to repeal the Anti-Fake News Act, a retired judge said.

Gopal Sri Ram said failure to do so would embolden the senators to frustrate the legislative programmes of the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in the future.

“The power to appoint senators by the king must include the power to remove them,” he told FMT after the opposition-controlled Dewan Negara voted against repealing the law, which the PH had pledged to abolish in its election manifesto.

Sri Ram said the king should instead appoint senators nominated by the prime minister.

He also suggested that all senators appointed by the king should in future be elected in keeping with democratic practices.

The Dewan Negara last Wednesday rejected the repeal of the act by 28 votes to 21, while three senators abstained.

On Aug 16, Dewan Rakyat MPs had approved a bill to abolish the act, which was passed under the previous administration just a month before the May 9 polls that brought PH to power.

The term of office of senators is for three years and is not affected by the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat.

Under Article 45, the king appoints 44 members of the Dewan Negara on the advice of the prime minister.

Another 26, who represent the 13 states in the federation, are elected by their respective state assemblies.

PH won power in Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah while Parti Warisan and its PH allies took control of Sabah.

Pahang and Perlis are under Barisan Nasional (BN) while PAS governs Kelantan and Terengganu. Sarawak is ruled by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak, formed by former local-based BN component parties.