LETTERS: PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has openly stated that the party intends to table a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament.
According to the party's secretary general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, the proposal to table a vote of confidence arose as a result of rumours that certain quarters were not happy with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
It would be reasonable to assume that the dissatisfaction (if true) has to do with inter alia Dr Mahathir’s non-committal vis-a-vis the promised handover of premiership to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, professor of constitutional law at University of Malaya, has pointed out that there have been successful votes of no confidence in Malaysia at the state level.
These cases include Stephen Kalong Ningkan (Sarawak, 1966); Datuk Harun Idris (Selangor, 1976); and Datuk Mohammad Nasir (Kelantan, 1977).
Retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, a retired Federal Court judge, has opined that Pas proposed motion of confidence would have no effect, whatever its outcome.
In the event he is right, a failed vote of confidence could motivate certain quarters to push for a subsequent vote of no confidence.
In the event he is wrong, and the Yang-DiPertuan Agong is of the opinion that Dr Mahathir has ceased to command the majority of the Dewan Rakyat, then either the executive has to resign or Parliament will be dissolved leading to a general election.
It is, however, worth noting that, according to the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders 15(1), “on every sitting day Government business shall have precedence over Private Members business”.
In effect, this could mean that Pas’ proposed motion may not see the light of day.
Alternatively, Pas’ proposed vote of confidence could be used by Dr Mahathir to further solidify his premiership.
With Pas and possibly even Umno backing the proposed vote of confidence, it would be unwise for any PH Member of Parliament to vote against the motion lest it leads to an unexpected general election two years after the 14th General Election.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times