Saturday, August 15, 2015

Toppling government through non-violence is constitutional, say lawyers

BY V. ANBALAGAN

Lawyer Edmund Bon says a Federal Court ruling has allowed for the removal of the chief executive of a state without having to take a vote of no confidence in the legislature. – The Malaysian Insider pic, August 15, 2015.
Lawyer Edmund Bon says a Federal Court ruling has allowed for the removal of the chief executive of a state without having to take a vote of no confidence in the legislature. – The Malaysian Insider pic, August 15, 2015. - 

A Federal Court ruling has allowed for the removal of the chief executive of a state without having to take a vote of no confidence in the legislature, constitutional lawyers said.
They said instead, statutory declarations (SD) from majority elected representatives to remove the government was constitutional as declared by the highest court of the land in 2010.
Lawyer Edmund Bon said a five-man Federal Court bench led by current Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria had approved this procedure in the Perak case of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin versus Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir.
Barisan Nasional (BN) had in 2009 submitted 31 SDs from 28 BN assemblymen and 3 opposition representatives who were BN-friendly to convince the ruler of Perak that Nizar, who was then the mentri besar, had lost the majority support of the assemblymen.
 
"The chief political executive (prime minister, mentris besar and chief ministers) can be removed if the appointing authority finds the incumbent no longer enjoys the confidence of the majority," he told The Malaysian Insider.
Bon, who was in the legal team that appeared for Nizar, however, said that most constitutional lawyers and academics was still of the opinion that the better option was to take a vote of no-confidence in the legislature.
He said this in response to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's revelation earlier today that an Umno leader was behind a plot to topple the government with the support of opposition lawmakers.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said he had learned that they were preparing statutory declarations (SDs) ‎to remove the government of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"There is an effort to obtain SDs among the opposition lawmakers and to pull in BN lawmakers to topple the government," Zahid said when officiating the annual general meeting of Umno's Ampang division today in Kuala Lumpur.
Zahid, who is Umno vice-president, said he received this information from very trusted sources.

Datuk Dominic Puthucheary said whoever was adopting this procedure (getting SDs) was acting within the constitutional rights of the country.
"There is nothing illegal and non- violent means are being used," said the senior lawyer, who was once Nibong Tebal MP under the Barisan ticket.
Dominic said the term "toppling" actually meant that one was exercising his constitutional right to change the government
He said one need not wait until the next general election to vote in a new administration or government.
The Federal Court ruling of 2010 established the principle that the appointing authority (Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Malay rulers and the governors) could look into extraneous factors to determine whether an incumbent head of government has lost the confidence of the majority of elected representatives.
Once this has been determined, the head of government must resign together with his cabinet or exco members.
The ruling also implied that the head of government was deemed to have been dismissed from office if he refused to resign after losing the confidence vote.
This paves the way for the appointment of a new head of government or dissolution of the House.
In the Perak incident, Nizar lost the support of his assemblymen when three state representatives became BN-friendly independents in February 2009.
The political equation then stood at 28 each for the opposition and BN.
Nizar then advised the late Sultan Azlan Shah to dissolve the house but he refused, and instead appointed Zambry as the MB.
The BN has 134 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, the opposition (DAP, PKR and PAS) 87 and one independent (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim - Bandar Tun Razak).
Any change of prime minster is only possible if more than 112 MPs expressed lack of confidence in Najib. – August 15, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/toppling-government-through-non-violence-is-constitutional-say-lawyers#sthash.8sb1azn4.dpuf

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