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Why is the Agong interviewing 221 MPs before electing a Prime Minister?

2020-02-25 Bc740713 f0d1 49d2 aaf0 b2cc9f974302 Matdura S.

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This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to be used or construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever.

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Update: The interviews involving 221 MPs, do not include the interim PM, Tun Mahathir. 

At the time of writing, it’s been approximately 24-hours since our former-current-interim Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir resigned and was appointed again as the interim Prime Minister of Malaysia.

To give you a brief insight on the political turmoil happening in our country, once Tun Mahathir resigned as Prime Minister, the entire cabinet of Ministers was dissolved. This is because of what’s stated under Article 43(5) of the Federal Constitution which essentially says:

“Subject to Clause (4), Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang diPertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any Minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister but any Minister may resign his office.”

Because the Agong consented to the cancellation of all Ministerial positions after Tun M resigned—we currently don’t have a cabinet of Ministers in Parliament. 

However, this might just be resolved with the help from our Agong—as he made an unprecedented move to appoint a member from the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) as the PM, based on the confidence of the members in the House. 

But why is he inviting all 221 MPs before he elects our next Prime Minister? Before we go into this reasoning, let’s look at what exactly is the Dewan Rakyat. 

 

The Dewan Rakyat consists of Ministers

Image from KKMM

What we refer to as ‘Parliament’ is actually comprised of three components. According to Article 44 of the Federal Constitution, the three main elements of the Parliament are:

  1. Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA);

  2. Dewan Negara; and

  3. Dewan Rakyat

Based on Article 44 of the Constitution, the power to make laws lies upon the Parliament which uses a bicameral system (dual house) that comprises of House of Senate (Dewan Negara) and House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat). The Dewan Rakyat is also dissolved before every General Election to make way for a new set of MPs as voted for by the People.

The Dewan Rakyat is the lower chamber of Parliament. It is comprised of members representing their own federal constituency (our MPs) who are elected during the general election. Basically, they’re the elected representatives that speak for us at the federal level

Article 46(1) of the Federal Constitution states the composition of the Dewan Rakyat as such:

The House of Representatives shall consist of two hundred and twenty-two elected members. (2) There shall be— (a) two hundred and nine members from the States in Malaysia as follows:
(i) twenty-six members from Johore;
(ii) fifteen members from Kedah;
(iii) fourteen members from Kelantan;
(iv) six members from Malacca;
(v) eight members from Negeri Sembilan;
(vi) fourteen members from Pahang;
(vii) thirteen members from Penang;
(viii) twenty-four members from Perak;
(ix) three members from Perlis;
(x) twenty-five members from Sabah;
(xi) thirty-one members from Sarawak;
(xii) twenty-two members from Selangor;
and (xiii) eight members from Terengganu;

There should be 222 members of Parliament from all the states stated above and including the 3 federal territories (Labuan, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya). 

This pretty much includes all representatives from Malaysia, who speak for the nation at a Federal level. So this essentially shows how important the members of Parliament are...which might be why the Agong wants to interview them personally…

 

The Agong has power to choose our PM

Image from MalayMail

Among the powers of the Agong is to appoint the Prime Minister formally. Article 40(2) of the Federal Constitution states this as:

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions, that is to say:
(a) the appointment of a Prime Minister;
(b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament;”

Basically, this Article in the constitution states that the Agong can act in his discretion when appointing the next PM. The Comptroller (no, not a spelling error) of the Royal Household, further verified this for us:

“What is being done by his Majesty is in accordance with the Federal Constitution which says that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must appoint someone who enjoys the confidence of the majority,“ 

The Comptroller is basically referring to Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution which says: 

(a) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House...

This basically gives the Agong authority to choose the next PM but he can only do so if he reasonably believes there is confidence of the majority of the members in the Dewan Rakyat.

Perhaps the reason behind the personal interviews conducted by the King towards the 222 MPs is to decide on who the MPs prefer as the next PM. 

EXTRA NOTE: The Federal Consitution also says that once a Parliament has been dissolved, a general election must be held within 60 days from the date of the dissolution. 

Tags:
agong
federal constitution
parliament
mp
dewan rakyat
member of parliament
mahathir
house of representatives
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About the Author Matdura S.

Very aunty-social.

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