SEPT 5 — Before the current parliamentary term which has seen two changes of leadership, there were two other changes of leadership during a parliamentary term.
Both changes were followed by a motion of confidence in the newly sworn-in prime minister in the Dewan Rakyat.
The first was a motion of confidence in Prime Minister Datuk Hussein bin Onn who was sworn in as prime minister on January 15, 1976 following the death of Tun Abdul Razak in London on January 14, 1976.
On January 27, 1976 a motion of confidence in Hussien Onn was moved by Kuala Kedah MP Datuk Senu bin Abdul Rahman as follows:
“Bahawa Dewan dengan ini mengucapkan setinggi-tinggi tahniah atas perlantikan Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Hussein Onn sebagai Perdana Menteri dan menyatakan kepercayaan penuh terhadap pimpinan beliau dan berikrar memberikan kerjasama dan sokongan sepenuhnya kepada beliau bagi melaksanakan tugas dan tanggungjawabnya.”
After a two-hour debate, the motion was agreed and passed by the Dewan Rakyat.
The second motion of confidence was in Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Bin Haji Ahmad Badawi who was sworn in as prime minister on October 31, 2003 after Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad stepped down as the fourth prime minister.
Three days later, on November 3, 2003 a similar motion of confidence in Abdullah was moved by Shah Alam MP Dato’ Ir. Mohd. Zin bin Mohamed. The motion, made under Standing Order 27(3), read as follows:
“Dengan ini, semua Ahli Dewan Rakyat memperkasa keyakinan dan perpaduan dalam permuafakatan dan kesetiaan yang tidak berbelah-bagi terhadap Yang Amat Berhormat Ahli Parlimen bagi Kepala Batas selaku Perdana Menteri Malaysia; dan
Dengan ini, bahawasanya Dewan ini berdiri teguh sambil menyokong sepenuhnya pelantikan dan kepemimpinan Yang Amat Berhormat Ahli Parlimen bagi Kepala Batas selaku Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang kelima.”
Again, after a two-hour debate the motion was agreed and passed by the Dewan Rakyat.
None of the above motions was seen and taken as doubting the legitimacy of the new prime minister’s appointment or undermining the power of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong under the Constitution.
Parliament is one of the three branches of a Westminster-style government. It is established by the Constitution under Chapter 4 and is vested by Article 44(1) with the “legislative authority of the Federation”.
Article 62 mandates Parliament to regulate its own procedure. And Article 63 confers constitutional privileges to Parliament in that “the validity of any proceedings in either House of Parliament or any committee thereof shall not be questioned in any court.”
As such, a motion of confidence in the prime minister in the Dewan Rakyat after his appointment by the Agong under Article 43(2)(a) is legit.
*This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.