First he stole the government, now he disrespects the constitution

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By P Ramakrishnan

Muhyiddin has a moral duty to vacate his post immediately, but will he do the honourable thing? asks Ramakrishnan.

One must be absolutely ethical in order to live up to the democratic ideals and values. Without it, anything goes. We have seen that since February 2020.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s majority support was apparently dubious when he was appointed the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia. He did not do anything to dispel this negative perception, neither did he prove in any positive manner that he enjoyed majority support.

He has consistently and persistently refused to subject himself to a vote of confidence in Parliament to claim the moral high ground to be the legitimate PM of this nation and hold up his head in dignity.

Now, Muhyiddin’s position has become untenable with the Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub from Kelantan openly withdrawing his support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government. He can no longer pretend to have the majority support in Parliament to exercise his right to exist as the lawful PM of this country. He is seen as clinging to power without legitimacy.

In keeping with Article 45 (4) of the Federal Constitution which states:

“If the prime minister no longer has the trust of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat, then the prime minister must resign from the cabinet unless at his request Parliament is dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”

Muhyiddin has a moral duty to vacate his post immediately. Alternatively, he can show respect to the democratic tradition and subject himself to a vote of confidence in order to remain as PM. For this, he has to urgently arrange to convene the special sitting of Parliament and subject himself to this test. But will he do this honourable thing?

Are we expecting too much from him? He stole the people’s government without any qualms. Will he now respect the constitutional provision which nullifies his right to be the PM and leave honourably? In this challenging moment, his conduct will reveal the measure of the man.

We hope that he will be guided by this saying from Robert Tew: “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.”

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

First published on 11 January 2021 at this link.

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.

Update: A few days after the Machang MP withdrew his support, the Padang Rengas MP, Nazri Aziz, did the same, on 12 January.

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