pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong has tabled the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 which limits the tenure of the prime minister (PM) to a maximum of two terms.
The move is to amend clause two of Article 43 in the Federal Constitution, which provides an additional criterion to qualify a House of Representatives member to be appointed as PM.
Liew said the second reading of the bill will be done in the fourth sitting of the 14th Parliament session in March next year.
The bill’s explanatory statement stated that through this proposed amendment, a member of the House of Representatives shall not be appointed as PM if he has held the office for two Parliamentary terms.
The term limit was first announced in March last year as part of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) manifesto, along with not allowing a PM to hold another portfolio.
PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) then reiterated the move at the 11th Malaysia Plan’s mid-term review as part of Putrajaya’s swift step at political reform.
The current Article 43(a) in the Federal Constitution only contains one clause under its first paragraph. It reads: “The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives — (i) who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House.”
Once amended, the second clause would be “(ii) who has not at any time held the office of PM for two terms at Parliament”.
The move to amend the Federal Constitution is not the first under the PH’s administration.
Ever since the shocking victory at the 14th General Election, the coalition has twice made moves to amend the Federal Constitution.
The first time, it failed to secure a two-thirds majority from legislators to reinstate Sabah and Sarawak to their original positions as in the 1963 version of the Federal Constitution. This was an acid test for the government.
Three months later, history was made when the government’s bid to lower the voting age to 18 years old met a resounding success with unanimous backing from the Opposition bloc and government backbenchers in July this year.
When asked if the government is confident on receiving a two-thirds majority again for its latest attempt, Liew said it is in the interest of many to support the limitation of the PM’s term to a maximum of 10 years.
Dr Mahathir was also in favour of the move. “I am 94 years old. Do you want me to be PM when I am 100 years old?” he said yesterday.