It could be ‘much ado about nothing’ if Dr M is allowed to withdraw motion

A lawyer says Dr Mahathir Mohamad can choose to withdraw his motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at the last minute.

PETALING JAYA: The brouhaha over Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could fizzle out as he could also withdraw his proposal, a lawyer said.

Bastian Pius Vendargon said Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders 29 allowed a proposer to withdraw the proposal by giving notice in writing to the Dewan Rakyat secretary.

The lawyer said there was also no time frame when such a proposal could be revoked.

“He could do so at the last minute citing national interests, the Covid-19 pandemic and the economy,” Vendargon told FMT.

He said this in response to Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof accepting the Langkawi MP’s proposal to put to test the level of confidence enjoyed by Muhyiddin among the 222 MPs when the lower house sits on May 18.

In a statement on Friday, Ariff said he had accepted the proposal in line with Standing Order 27(3).

Lawyer N Surendran said the motion was unlikely to see the light of day, going by parliamentary rules and conventions.

The former Padang Serai MP said it did not automatically mean that the motion would be debated in the house and that a vote would be taken.

He said government business takes precedence over all others, including private members’ bills and motions.

Meanwhile, lawyer Lim Wei Jit said Muhyiddin had several options after Mahathir’s motion was accepted.

First, Muhyiddin, without going to Parliament, could tender his resignation to the King if he did not have the support of at least 112 MPs and advise the king to dissolve the house.

If the Agong refuses to accept the advice, Muhyiddin can resign for the monarch to appoint another MP as prime minister in accordance with Article 43 (2) (a) of the Federal Constitution.

Secondly, he could alter the composition of his government to remain prime minister as long as Muhyiddin felt he enjoyed majority support.

“For example, he could include Pakatan Harapan MPs in the Cabinet and exclude others currently under his administration,” Lim said.

Thirdly, Muhyiddin could accept the no-confidence vote challenge and it will be business as usual if he wins the vote from the floor.

Fourthly, Lim said Muhyiddin could resign as prime minister if the no-confidence motion is successful.

“In this scenario, he could advise the King to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat. If the King refuses, Muhyiddin has to resign for the King to look for another MP as prime minister,” he added.

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