By now, many are thinking – and worried that – it’s a foregone conclusion that Najib will become the next PM.
But Tengku Razaleigh reminds us the Agong and Parliament have a crucial constitutional role to play:
Let us understand very clearly the transitional situation we are in.
1. The incumbent Prime Minister is about to resign as he has solemnly promised to by the end of this month.
2. On the appointed day (which like so many things in this administration remains a mystery) the Prime Minister will tender his resignation and that of his cabinet to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. With this the government of the day comes to an end.
3. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong will appoint the next Prime Minister at his sole discretion from among the members of the elected lower house of Parliament, the Dewan Rakyat. His Majesty’s choice is guided by his own judgment of who among the members “commands the confidence” of a majority the members of parliament.
4. The new Prime Minister will name his cabinet and form the next government.
5. The Agong’s choice may at any time be tested by a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat. If the Prime Minister is rejected by the Dewan, the King will have to re-appoint another person.
Razaleigh goes on the discuss the implications:
1. Whatever undertakings the present prime minister has made with his deputy or with his party about his successor are external to the constitutional process. To think otherwise is to imagine that the prime ministership is a private property to be passed on from one potentate to another at whim. The behaviour of some leaders might have conveyed this unfortunate impression, and caused the public to find the party arrogant and out of touch.
2. The fact that the President of UMNO has also been appointed as Prime Minister is only a convention, as Tun Dr Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz have asserted recently. This convention was based on the assumption of Umno’s absolute dominance of Parliament. That condition no longer holds.
3. Statements in the media that it is the right of Umno and BN to dictate to the Yang Dipertuan Agong who should be Prime Minister deny the constitutional right of the Yang Dipertuan Agong, and deprive him of perhaps the most important of his few discretionary powers. Such statements turn the Agong’s role into a rubber stamp for the decisions of a political party. I am waiting for Umno to strongly denounce such statements, especially as we have recently rediscovered our concern for the rights of the Rulers.
So it’s not over till it’s over…