Confidence vote vital for political stability, experts say


PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should seek the tabling of the confidence motion in the next parliamentary sitting to ensure political stability and avoid the mistakes done by his predecessor, experts said.

University of Malaya political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the legitimacy of Ismail Sabri’s administration needs to be proven via a majority support in the Dewan Rakyat as the statutory declarations (SDs) presented to the King by MPs last month are insufficient even after the PM was sworn in.

“I think everyone should obey His Majesty’s decree that the PM who has been appointed by the King based on Article 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution needs to immediately table the confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat to prove he has the majority support from the members,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) yesterday.

He said it will put the PM, politicians and party members in a negative light if the government disobeys the King’s decree, thus leading to a fall out between Ismail Sabri’s administration and the Palace.

“These incidents are not welcomed because the public wants political stability. Therefore, the government led by Ismail Sabri needs to obey the call made by the King who wants the new PM to prove his majority in Parliament to ensure he does not repeat the same situation faced by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who refused the confidence vote after being appointed the PM,” Awang Azman said.

On Saturday, Attorney General (AG) Tan Seri Idrus Harun said there is no necessity to legitimise the appointment of Ismail Sabri and a government that was formed in accordance with the law.

He said any move to legitimise the PM’s appointment is not in line with the provisions of the Federal Constitution and negates the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s powers as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“If the appointment of a new PM still needs validation by any party besides His Majesty, this would mean His Majesty’s absolute power can be overruled by other parties,” Idrus said in a statement.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun told TMR that there are no written constitutional provisions mandating a confidence vote for newly appointed PMs, but Malaysia subscribes to Westminster’s unwritten parliamentary convention which entails the PM to seek a confidence motion in Parliament after being appointed.

“Some may argue that it was not done when there was a change of PM during Barisan Nasional’s (BN) time.

“But those were the times when BN enjoyed absolute majority in Parliament, but now it is very obvious the PM has at best a very slim majority in Parliament.”

Oh said if a confidence motion is not tabled in Parliament, the new government may face the same situation as the previous administration led by Muhyiddin, which eventually led to his resignation.

“If you do not have such a motion in the coming session, then you will be just like Muhyiddin who delayed facing the parliamentary confidence motion for as long as possible. Look at the results,” Oh added.

Following the statement made by the AG, Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council urged Idrus to step down for disobeying the King’s call as he had also betrayed the Federal Constitution and the parliamentary democratic system.

“The presidential council is of the view that the statement made by AG on behalf of the government was very rude, breached the Federal Constitution and it also disobeyed the King’s decree.

“This is the second time he disobeyed the King and it is very disappointing. He does not deserve to helm the AG position,” PH’s presidential council said in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air information chief Ulya Husamudin questioned the government’s decision to appoint Muhyiddin as the chairman of the National Recovery Council with minister status as he claimed the former PM had failed in managing the pandemic in the country.

He said the chairman should conduct his duties as a “national service” and the council should have been made up of professionals, as suggested by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“His appointment was really disappointing. It is obvious that the appointment was a political strategy aimed at strengthening the government’s position ahead of the upcoming parliamentary session and it is definitely not for the people,” he said in a statement.