1. Kings in Europe used to have absolute power. And this resulted in abuses, in oppression of the people. And so the people rebelled and did away with monarchy.

2. But many nations are loath to do away with their kings. And so they invented constitutional monarchs who head the nation but have no executive power. Instead the elected Government acts in the name of the King.

3. To ensure this the King is required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister or members of the cabinet. But certain matters are stated to be the prerogative of the King.

4. In Malaysia the King has absolute power to determine:
i. The dissolution of Parliament
ii. Matters concerning the institution of the King
iii. The appointment of the Prime Minister
iv. Proclamation of the Emergency

5. Although the King is required to accept the advice of the Prime Minister, he has also to consider the merits of the advice. It is important to remember that in the treaties between the Malay Rulers and the British, the stipulation was that the advice of the British Adviser or Residents, must be accepted and acted upon. There is no such stipulation with regard to the advice of the Prime Minister or his Ministers.

6. And so, when in 2020 the Prime Minister advised the King to declare a state of emergency the first time, the Agong rejected the advice. There was no state of emergency.

7. However, the Agong accepted the advice of the Prime Minister when in January 2021 he again advised that a state of emergency be declared. Subsequently a bulletin was issued by the Government spelling out the conditions of the emergency.

8. It is not clear whether the Agong was presented with this bulletin when the advice was given by the Prime Minister. But the bulletin contains several provisions which contravened the Constitution and the laws of Malaysia.

9. Firstly the proclamation of emergency should be laid before Parliament. This was not done. Then Parliament was not allowed to sit. This again was against the Constitution.

10. The Prime Minister gave himself the right to make laws, including raising loans without approval of Parliament. This is against the Constitution.

11. The Ordinance also made all action taken by the Government as being made by the Agong or anyone authorised by the Agong. There is no mention that the Agong acts on the advice of the Prime Minister.

12. Yet the Prime Minister insist that even in an emergency the Agong can only act on his advice. But at the same time a body is set up to determine when the emergency should be terminated and to advise the King. This body is independent and yet has a right to advise the King. So the King may be advised not only by the PM but also by an independent body. Clearly it is not always that the King acts on the advice of the PM.

13. The constitutional monarchy system is to deprive the King from exercising executive power. But what happens if it is the elected Government which abuses power.

14. Constitutionally the people can overthrow the Government through a vote of non-confidence in Parliament. But what if the Government did not allow Parliament to sit.

15. The only other recourse is through a general election. But currently an election cannot be held because of the pandemic.

16. The only way out is for the King to exercise his discretionary power. As with his initial rejection of the emergency, the King can disregard his acceptance of the PM’s advice when it has not been debated and approved by Parliament.

17. The King has the discretion to appoint a Prime Minister. But Parliament may reject the Prime Minister named by the King. But since Parliament does not sit, it cannot reject the King’s nominee.

18. The country is under emergency rule. The provision of the Constitution and the ordinary laws are suspended. But the situation in the country has become untenable because the Government is not able to deal with multiple crises due to the pandemic, the collapse of the economy, the social sufferings of the people and the breakdown of the political system.

19. Then the Prime Minister was forced to appoint a Deputy Prime Minister (DPM). He could not appoint someone from his own party. He had to appoint a DPM from UMNO, the party that was rejected in the 14th General Election (GE).

20. The moment he did this, UMNO withdrew 15 members from the Perikatan Nasional (Muhyiddin) Government. The Government was overthrown. Since a general election could not be held, the 222 members of Dewan Rakyat had to indicate their choice of a PM.

21. The 15 UMNO members whose withdrawal brought Muhyiddin’s Government down then rejoined all the other members of PN and supported the UMNO DPM. With this the defeated UMNO became the Government again.

22. All these actions were legal but it deprived the people of their right to choose the Government democratically. There is therefore a need to put a stop to this abuse of the constitution of the country.

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