KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Umno’s demand to hold an early general election while Malaysia braces for monsoonal floods even as it struggles with post-Covid economic recovery smacks of arrogance and disrespect, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke said today.
He also said the Malay nationalist party’s refusal to budge from holding polls this year showed that it was deliberately ignoring the Federal Constitution which provides the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong with discretionary powers with regards to elections.
“Isn't this derhaka against the institution of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong?” the Seremban MP asked in a statement, using the Malay word for rebellion.
Citing Article 40(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution, Loke said the clause clearly provides the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the power to disallow a request to dissolve Parliament.
Loke was responding to news reports that Umno supreme council has set a date for GE15 and that its vice-president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will seek an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to seek a dissolution of Parliament soon.
To Loke, the Umno supreme council was setting a condition for the King and ignored the monarch’s constitutional discretionary powers.
He pointed out that it had never happened in the history of the country that an open statement regarding the dissolution of Parliament was issued before the prime minister received the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Loke added that such action can be considered going against the institution of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He also said that Umno needs to be reminded that the Malay nationalist party only has 38 representatives out of 222 parliamentarians in the Dewan Rakyat or only 17 per cent that made up the entire Parliament.
“Umno cannot be allowed to act arbitrarily as if they are still the largest party being represented in Parliament today,” he said.
Loke said DAP will uphold and fully respect the decision of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the matter of dissolving Parliament in accordance with the principles and provisions under the Federal Constitution.
“DAP has faith that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will use his discretion and wisdom to make the best decisions for the benefit of the people and the country,” he said.
In separate statements, two other DAP lawmakers criticised the Umno supreme council for bulldozing its way to hold elections this year. Klang MP Charles Santiago said holding a general election this year signals that Umno is desperate to save its “court cluster” leaders from their numerous criminal charges.
“We need to end politicking and focus solely on mitigating the monsoon floods.
“Fixing a date for the 15th general election for next year will also mitigate the almost free fall of the ringgit and sliding economy,” he said, adding that the government does not have to hold polls this year to prove anything.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen described Umno’s announcement last night to force through an early election as not only arrogant, but highly irresponsible as it will be held during the monsoon season.
He said having the GE15 by this year will not only cost more, but more importantly forsake the people’s interest especially those going to be affected by the floods.