King consents to not having confidence vote, says Wan Junaidi

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BERNAMA

THE King has consented to the government not pursuing a confidence vote in Parliament to test Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s majority, according to de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture).

The consent was given by the King during a recent audience with the ninth PM, said the minister.

“When the PM had an audience with the King, we got the King’s approval to not hold a vote of confidence because his appointment (as PM) is still very new. His Majesty agrees that there is no need for this no-confidence vote to be implemented again,” he said in a press conference yesterday.

From his personal point of view, Wan Junaidi said the Constitution has given the highest power to the King to appoint a PM based on his belief that he has an adequate majority support and it is unlikely for MPs to withdraw their support.

“Every single one of the 114 MPs had met His Majesty and expressed their support for the PM. I do not see that they will continue to change their stand to not support at the next parliamentary session,” he added.

The Parliament is set to reconvene on Sept 13.

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.

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 Malaysian Reserve reported on Monday that analysts believed that the vote of confidence is vital to ensure political stability.

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.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said the government has no plan to appeal against the ruling of the High Court in Kuching, Sarawak, for Putrajaya to implement the lowered voting age of 18 years’ old (Undi18) this year.

“So far, there has been no government decision to appeal. The order from the High Court in Kuching still stays as it is and to be complied with.

“Due to the current court order, I have asked the Election Commission (EC) to implement, in its existing power, whatever is necessary in accordance with what is said by the judge in the High Court in Sarawak,” the minister explained.

Recently, the High Court in Kuching decided to repeal the government order to implement Undi18 by September 2022 under certiorari order. The court instead ordered Undi18 to be implemented by Dec 31, 2021.

Wan Junaidi clarified the reason why the government set the implementation to September 2022 is because when amending the Constitution in 2018, the administration then was planning for an election in 2023, so the move was made for 18-year olds’ voter registration and automatic voting.

At present, the minister said the total number of unregistered voters is 5.6 million, of which 1.19 million are 18 to 20 years old, while the remaining 4.41 million are 21 and above.

Wan Junaidi noted that after parliamentary approval amended the Constitution to lower the age for voters and candidates, matters regarding registration at the state level arose.

He said five more states have yet to make amendments to state body laws to implement the 18-year-old candidacy as assemblyman candidates.

“I told the EC I will make personal engagements with the states in question.

“I have discussed with the EC and representatives from the AG what action should be taken in the event that the states still do not agree with the age reduction of their respective state assemblymen,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Wan Junaidi said transformation in the government sector, transformation in Parliament, as well as looking into the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, would be the top three priorities for his ministry in setting its 100-day key performance indicators.

On Parliament transformation, the focus is to re-introduce the Parliamentary Service Act, which will be more comprehensive to give independence to Parliament, and a proposal to create a new act of Parliament to replace the Houses of Parliament Privilege & Powers Act 1952 (revised 1988).