Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun should be terminated with immediate effect for breach of confidentiality when he issued a public statement to clarify the legal position under the Federal Constitution regarding the King’s constitutional functions to summon for Parliament to meet, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council said today.
PH said in a statement that the AG should only provide his advice directly to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and keep it confidential, not by announcing them openly as it would be viewed as a form of transgression by belittling the views of the Malay Rulers in the present context.
“The statement has sidelined the spirit of the Constitution and depicts the AG’s sidelining of the Malay Rulers institution to protect a government that wishes for absolute power without any control or limit to its tenure.
“His statement is a form of breach of confidentiality between a lawyer and their client. With this violation, he is not qualified to be a lawyer let alone hold the post of AG.
“Therefore, the AG’s statement is a precise betrayal against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and must be terminated immediately,” they said.
The statement was co-signed by PKR president and PH chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Amanah Negara’s president Mohammad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
They also claimed the AG’s statement was in violation of standard norms in upholding the rule of law and the Federal Constitution, as Article 145(2) of the Federal Constitution stipulates that it shall be the duty of the AG to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Cabinet or any minister upon such legal matters.
In his statement issued on June 25, Idrus said the Cabinet is the one that determines when both houses of Parliament would meet, as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s constitutional power to summon for Parliament to meet is at the Cabinet’s advice.
“Therefore, in line with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s power to summon Parliament to meet, which is carried out according to the Cabinet’s advice, the meeting dates for the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara are also determined by the Cabinet,” he concluded.
The AG had highlighted two constitutional provisions, namely Article 40(1) and Article 40(1A).
He explained that these two constitutional provisions, among other things, provide that the Agong, while exercising his constitutional functions or functions under federal law, is to accept and act in accordance with the Cabinet’s advice or the advice of a minister acting under the general authority of Cabinet, except otherwise provided by the Federal Constitution.
The attorney general said the King’s position as a constitutional monarch who has to act according to advice given by the Cabinet was based on the Federal Constitution’s Article 39, Article 40 and Article 43.
He noted that Articles 39 and 40 vest the country’s executive authority in the Agong to be exercised by himself, the Cabinet or any minister authorised by the Cabinet, while Article 43 requires the Agong to appoint a Cabinet to advise him in the exercise of his functions.
While noting that the Federal Constitution’s Article 55(1) provides for the Agong’s powers to summon Parliament to meet, the attorney general said this provision has been suspended throughout the Emergency via the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021’s Section 14(1)(a).
Previously on June 16, the Istana Negara had issued a statement quoting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as expressing the view that Parliament meetings should be held as quickly as possible. – MMO