JUNE 6 — At the second reading of the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 2022, then prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob explained Clause 4 of the Bill as follows:

“Fasal baharu 4 bertujuan untuk memasukkan fasal baharu 49A ke dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan untuk memperuntukkan bahawa seorang Ahli Dewan Rakyat hendaklah terhenti menjadi Ahli Dewan itu dan kerusinya hendaklah menjadi kosong sebaik sahaja suatu tarikh kekosongan luar jangka dipastikan oleh Tuan Yang di-Pertua Dewan di bawah fasal (3) Perkara baharu 49A, jika telah dipilih ke Dewan Rakyat sebagai anggota suatu parti politik, dia melepaskan keanggotaan atau terhenti menjadi anggota parti politik itu.

“Perkara yang sama juga terpakai bagi calon bebas yang telah dipilih ke Dewan Rakyat menyertai suatu parti politik. Perkataan “Anggota suatu parti politik” yang disebut dalam Perkara baharu 49A hendaklah termasuk Ahli Dewan Rakyat yang bukan anggota mana-mana parti politik yang membentuk suatu gabungan politik tetapi ialah anggota gabungan itu.

“Kekosongan luar jangka di Dewan Rakyat hendaklah dipastikan oleh Tuan Yang di-Pertua Dewan apabila menerima notis bertulis daripada mana-mana Ahli Dewan itu mengenai berlakunya kekosongan itu dan dia hendaklah memberitahu Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya tentang kekosongan itu dalam tempoh 21 hari dari tarikh dia menerima notis bertulis itu.” (Emphasis added) (See Hansard dated July 27, 2022, at page 29)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a Dewan Negara sitting at Parliament August 9, 2022. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks during a Dewan Negara sitting at Parliament August 9, 2022. — Bernama pic

Article 49A(1)(a)(ii) of the Federal Constitution now says that an MP’s seat “shall become vacant immediately on a date a casual vacancy is established by the Speaker” if he (the MP) ceases to be a member of the political party.

The casual vacancy, however, is subject to the Speaker receiving a written notice from any MP on the occurrence of a casual vacancy among the MPs. The Speaker then “shall establish that there is such a casual vacancy”.

It is therefore for the Speaker to establish casual vacancy subject to him receiving written notice.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, to establish is “to discover or get proof of something” as in the sentence: “Before we take any action we must establish the facts/truth.”

In other words, to establish is to find out, to show that (something) is true or real.

Simply put, to establish is to ascertain the truth.

That’s what the Speaker needs to do before he establishes that there is a casual vacancy in the Dewan Rakyat. Even so, he has to be first notified of a casual vacancy in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Speaker cannot act suo moto, which is Latin for “on his own motion”.

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