Parliament can summon AG to explain statement on confidence vote - group

·2-min read
Parliament can summon AG to explain statement on confidence vote - group
Parliament can summon AG to explain statement on confidence vote - group

It is entirely within Parliament’s powers to summon Attorney-General Idrus Harun to clarify his statement that a vote of confidence in the august House is not necessary, a group of NGOs said.

The Seed Community for a Professional Parliament (SCPP) said Parliament has this power under the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Act 347) as well as the Standing Orders.

“We are very aware that… the Dewan Rakyat can call anyone, including the attorney-general, to answer questions and to explain their stance on things that threaten or question the powers, rights and privileges of the Houses of Parliament.

“The indefensible position of the attorney-general about the ruling system in Malaysia – that the monarchy is absolute and not constitutional – brings into question his qualification for his position,” SCPP said in a statement yesterday.

Idrus (above) had previously said that a vote of confidence is not necessary as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had already appointed Ismail Sabri Yaakob as prime minister as per the Federal Constitution.

He had also argued that a vote of confidence would actually undermine the king’s powers.

SCPP described Idrus’ argument as “nonsensical” and said it was an embarrassment to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

It reminded that Malaysia is a constitutional democracy and that no institution or body has absolute power, including the king.

Not only that, the Agong himself had issued a decree on Aug 18, 2021, that the new prime minister must seek a vote of confidence as soon as possible.

“Does Idrus take the stand that the Agong’s decree in his Aug 18 statement is unconstitutional and cannot be followed?” SCPP questioned.

It is also within the Parliament’s powers and authority to form and change the government through, among other methods, the vote of confidence, it said.

On the other hand, it is mandatory for the prime minister to maintain the confidence of a majority of MPs throughout his tenure.

“Any move in the future by any MP to test the confidence towards the current prime minister during the parliamentary session in September, October, November or December has absolutely nothing to do with the appointment of the prime minister by the Agong in August,” SCPP said.

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