Perikatan Nasional’s conditional support for Bera MP Ismail Sabri Yaakob to be prime minister should not be considered valid, argued lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Instead, the former Bar Council chairperson said MPs’ support for the prime minister must be unconditional.
“Conditional support by (PN) cannot surely be counted as support […] How can the government be stable if the intention is to pull support if condition not met?” she said in a series of posts on Twitter today.
She also shared a tweet from another netizen showing Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun’s letter spelling out requirements set out by the palace on what form of MPs’ letters of support should take.
Among others, Item 4(c) of the letter requires MPs to declare their “clear, unambiguous, and unconditional” confidence in their candidate of choice.
She was responding to PN chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement earlier today that support from the coalition’s 50 MPs for Ismail is conditional.
He said Ismail’s cabinet must not include any ministers who are facing criminal charges, and the new government must respect the separation of powers between the judiciary, the executive, and the legislature.
Meanwhile, several MPs also echoed Ambiga’s views.
Among them is Amanah vice-president Mahfuz Omar, who accused PN of misleading the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding their support for Ismail’s premiership.
He said if Ismail is appointed as prime minister, the resulting government will not be stable and would set up Malaysian politics for another round of turmoil.
“Therefore, the king needs to find a new process that can guarantee the prime minister-designate is someone who does not fear internal political blackmailing as has happened now, and not tied to interests in his own political party,” he said.
Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin, meanwhile, said MPs’ support for a prime minister candidate must be final, conclusive, and without any conditions attached.
He pointed out that in contractual law, any clause that contains the words “subject to…” means the contract is not yet final and cannot be enforced.
Hence, it is logical that the palace has required MPs to declare their unconditional support.
“How can the Yang di-Pertuan Agong perform his constitutional duty and functions if the support comes with ambiguity such as conditional support that is not final, as seen in (Muhyiddin’s statement).
“In the context of political parties and the whip system practised today, the support of MPs cannot deviate from their party leaders.
“In the context of this case, Muhyiddin’s statement as Bersatu and PN chairperson must have tied up at least half of the Bersatu MPs. Even that assumes other PN parliamentarians are not bound by it,” he said in a statement. – Malaysiakini