Will Zahid do what Najib did in 2009? ― Hafiz Hassan

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JULY 9 ― On February 5, 2009 at about 2.16pm, the office of His Royal Highness Sultan of Perak issued a press statement to Bernama, the material part of which read as follow and which summarised the events leading up to the press statement:

“Yang Amat Berhormat Dato' Seri Ir Haji Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin telah manghadap Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan pada 04 Februari 2009 (semalam) memohon perkenan Baginda untuk membubarkan Dewan Negeri Perak.

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato' Seri Mohd Najib, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Malaysia juga memohon menghadap Baginda atas kepasitinya sebagai Pengerusi Barisan Nasional Negeri Perak dan telah diberi perkenan menghadap Baginda pada esok harinya, pagi 05 Februari 2009.

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato' Seri Mohd Najib memaklumkan bahawa Barisan Nasional dan penyokong-penyokongnya kini yang terdiri daripada 31 orang ahli Dewan Negeri telah menguasai majoriti di kalangan ahli-ahli Dewan Negeri.

Atas titah Duli Yang Maha Mulia untuk meyakinkan Baginda bahawa maklumat yang dipersembahkan itu adalah tepat, kesemua 31 orang ahli Dewan Negeri tersebut telah dititah menghadap Paduka Seri Sultan.

Setelah menemui sendiri kesemua 31 ahli-ahli Dewan tersebut, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak telah yakin bahawa YAB Dato' Seri Ir Haji Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin telah terhenti daripada mendapat kepercayaan sebahagian besar (ceases to command the confidence of the majority) dari kalangan ahli-ahli Dewan Negeri.

DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak juga telah menimbangkan dengan sedalam-dalamnya permohonan YAB Dato' Seri Ir Haji Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin pada 04 Februari 2009 memohon perkenan Baginda untuk membubarkan Dewan Negeri Perak. Baginda menggunakan budi bicara Baginda di bawah Perkara XVIII (2)(b) Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Perak Darul Ridzuan dan tidak berkenan membubarkan Dewan Negeri Perak.

YAB Dato' Seri Ir Haji Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin telah dititah menghadap Baginda untuk dimaklumkan mengenai keputusan Baginda tidak membubarkan Dewan dan selaras dengan peruntukan XVI(6) Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Perak Darul Ridzuan, DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Perak menitahkan YAB Dato' Seri Ir Haji Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin meletak jawatan sebagai Menteri Besar Perak bersama ahli-ahli Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan (MMK) berkuatkuasa serta merta.

Sekiranya YAB Dato' Seri Ir Mohammad Nizar bin Jamaluddin tidak meletak jawatan sebagai Menteri Besar Perak bersama ahli-ahli MMK, maka jawatan Menteri Besar serta ahli-ahli MMK tersebut dianggap telah dikosongkan.”

[The above appears in the judgment of the Federal Court in the Nizar v Zambry (2010) case]

So, one wonders if Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will do what Najib did in 2009 ― that is, seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong together with Umno MPs who are members of the party’s Supreme Council to present to His Majesty the withdrawal of support to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

A livestream of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s online press conference at Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, July 7, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A livestream of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s online press conference at Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, July 7, 2021. — Picture by Hari Anggara

It would be evidence “properly established” that the prime minister no longer enjoys the support of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

If a sitting prime minister is disowned by his own party or coalition party, the prime minister should normally submit his resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. But if the prime minister still commands the confidence of the Dewan Rakyat, he need not resign.

This happened in India in 1968 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was expelled from her Congress Party by her party bosses. But as she still had a majority in the Lok Sabha (the lower House), she continued to serve as the prime minister.

So, it is the support of MPs that matters and not the support of party elites.

Having said this, it is interesting what was said by Raus Sharif, Judge of the Court of Appeal (as he then was) in his judgment in the Nizar v Zambri case in the Court of Appeal. He said as follow:

“Established convention demands that once the Menteri Besar is made to know that he has lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly [LA], he should take the honourable way out by tendering his resignation and the resignation of the executive council. If the Mentri Besar refuses or does not tender his resignation and the resignation of the executive council, as had happened in this case, the fact remains that the executive council is dissolved (which include the Menteri Besar) on account of the Menteri Besar losing the confidence of the majority of the members of Legislative Assembly. Therefore, it is not necessary for the DYMM Sultan of Perak to remove Nizar and the other members of the executive council.”

The Federal Court did not decide on the resignation of a Menteri Besar (MB) when it was made known to him that he had lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the LA.

But on the facts of the case, the Federal Court decided that it was incumbent upon the MB to tender the resignation of the executive council which included himself.

The MB’s refusal to resign after having been directed to do so by HRH Sultan of Perak clearly went against the express provisions of Article XVI(6) of the Perak State Constitution.

Now, back to the question: will Zahid do what Najib did in 2009?

* This is the personal opinion of the writers or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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