No confidence motion against PM not an act of disloyalty to king, say lawyers

The opposition has asked for an urgent sitting of the Dewan Rakyat to determine whether Muhyiddin Yassin has the support of the majority of MPs.

PETALING JAYA: A vote of no confidence motion in the Dewan Rakyat is to determine the measure of support for or against the prime minister, lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar Al-Mahdzar said.

He said such a motion was not aimed at the head of state, the Yang di Pertuan Agong, who has the onerous task to perform his constitutional duty.

Syed Iskandar said the king has the task to appoint his head of government but it was for the MPs to endorse or reject when it was put to the vote.

“It is absolutely drivel to claim that a vote against the prime minister is also an affront to the King,” the lawyer said.

He said this in response to a statement by Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang that it amounted to distrust of the monarch for anyone to refuse to accept the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Pakatan Harapan, which is now in the opposition, would ask for an urgent sitting of the Dewan Rakyat to determine who has the majority.

Mahathir disputed that Muhyiddin, who was appointed as the eighth prime minister, has the full support of all PPBM MPs, as six representatives, including himself and his son Mukhriz, did not back him.

Syed Iskandar said Malaysia followed the British parliamentary democracy that dated back 300 years.

He said there had been 25 successful motions of no confidence taken against the incumbent British prime minister that led to his resignation and dissolution of Parliament.

“Is Hadi also implying the MPs who voted against the prime minister were showing disloyalty to the king or queen of England?” he asked.

Another lawyer, Fahri Azzat, said the proposition by Hadi was utter nonsense as such a vote was a constitutional and legitimate process.

“It has nothing personal to do with the Agong. The question is only whether they have the numbers to move a vote of no confidence against the PM,” Fahri added.

Fahri said the problem with Hadi was that he interpreted events on a personal basis instead of accepting it as a legal process.

Lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said the king need not adhere with mathematical precision to appointing a prime minister, who in his judgment is likely to command the majority support as required under Article 43 (2) (a).

He said Article 43 ((4) stated that the prime minister who lost the confidence of the majority of MPs could request a dissolution of the House for fresh elections to be held but had to resign if the king did not accede to such a request.

“In the Westminster model, it is the 222 MPs who determine in the Dewan Rakyat whether the prime minister has the numbers to administer the government,” he said.