KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament ought to determine who commands the confidence of the majority to become the Prime Minister, the Malaysian Bar said today.
Its president, Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, said Malaysia, since independence, has enjoyed political stability, except for a momentary period after the elections in May 1969.
“What we are now experiencing is unprecedented in the history of this nation,” he said in a statement.
He added that the Malaysian Bar views with great concern events over the past few days, which have led to several Members of Parliament leaving the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
Rumours also abound as to attempts to form a new ruling coalition, he said.
Fareed said Pakatan Harapan (PH) came to power based on electoral support for their election manifesto, which highlighted the dire situation facing the nation due to the grave wrongdoings of the then ruling regime. It laid out a comprehensive manifesto which focused on democratic freedoms, taking a strong stance against corruption, and assisting those in need.
“If indeed Pakatan Harapan has lost its majority, then efforts need to be made to ascertain who is now able to command the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat, to be appointed the Prime Minister.
“In this regard, we echo the advice of the Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas – the government’s chief legal adviser – that the way forward is to have this matter determined by the Dewan Rakyat when it reconvenes on March 10.
“At that point, a vote of confidence or otherwise could be taken and debated against the interim Prime Minister,” he said
Fareed added that the Malaysian Bar cautions against the reliance on Statutory Declarations (SDs) to determine the support of MPs, since the authenticity of such SDs can be disputed.
“Any attempt to form a new government through political horse-trading must be avoided, especially if it negates the aspirations of the electorate, as this would lead to unnecessary controversy and raise questions of legitimacy.
“Political stability is essential in these challenging economic times and we call on all parties to behave in a calm and mature manner, having due regard to our Constitutional framework.
“The interest of the nation and its people should prevail over all other personal or partisan interests,” he added.
The PH government collapsed on Monday after Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and its 26 federal lawmakers quit the pact. This was further compounded when 11 PKR MPs quit the PH component party as well.
PH’s majority, which stood at 129 on Sunday, was reduced to a minority of 92 in the 222 strong Dewan Rakyat on Monday, following the exit and expulsion of 37 Bersatu and PKR federal lawmakers.