KUALA LUMPUR – Sept 30, 2015: Those who are hell-bent on casting a vote of no confidence in Parliament against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must first convince Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia that the vote is direly needed.
That was the opinion of legal and constitution experts.
The Mole sought their views on the matter following claims that it was undemocratic for Pandikar to deny the motion from being tabled in Dewan Rakyat.
Professor Abdul Halim Sidek of the National Council of Professors said the notice to table the motion for calling a vote of no confidence against Najib must satisfy the Speaker of the house.
“The member of parliament (MP) who submitted the notice for such motion must prove to the Speaker that there are burning issues that warrants such vote.
“After they have succeeded in doing so, then and only then can the motion be tabled and debated in the parliament,” he said.
He added that it would also be undemocratic for the Speaker to allow the motion to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat if the reasons backing the notice are weak.
Halim said if the Speaker remains unconvinced, then he has the prerogative to deny the motion from being tabled.
“He has the power to determine whether it is justifiable to table the motion. So, that is why the notice regarding the motion must be backed with substantial reasons.
“Aside from the usual unproven allegations of corruptions against Najib, what are the devastating issues that affects the ‘rakyat’ so badly that we need to remove the sitting Prime Minister?
“Are the people starving? Are they on hunger strike? No, we are not. In fact, some of us have died because of overeating,” he quipped.
Halim even advised the public not to get easily riled up on Pandikar’s reluctance to allow the motion for calling a vote of no confidence against Najib to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat.
“The smear campaign against Najib is just a wear and tear in politics. It is normal for politicians to be defamed and had scandalous remarks made against them,” he said.
The questioning of Pandikar’s prerogative pertaining the motion of calling for a vote of no confidence against Najib stemmed from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest blog posting.
Dr Mahathir was of the view that the Speaker was trying to ignore the Constitution by refusing to allow the motion to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat.
“A vote of non-confidence is totally democratic.
“Parliament may not have any provision for it but the Constitution, the supreme law of the country clearly states that if the Prime Minister no longer commands the support of the majority of the members of Parliaments, he should resign.
“So, is the Speaker trying to ignore the Constitution?” he wrote in his blog.
Law expert Professor Salleh Buang nonetheless shared similar views as Halim on the prerogative that Pandikar has in terms of allowing or denying the motion to call for a vote of no confidence against Najib.
He was however of the opinion that it would be better for Pandikar to just allow the motion to be tabled as it is almost impossible for Barisan Nasional member of parliaments to vote against Najib.
“A vote of no confidence has always been a norm in countries’ practicing the Westminster parliamentary democracy system.
“Although there are no rules that makes it compulsory for the Speaker to allow such motion it would also not be right for the Speaker to deny it from being tabled.
“They (the opposition MPs) might not even garner enough votes to oust Najib but to deny the motion would deprive the MPs’ rights to submit any notice in Dewan Rakyat,” said Salleh.
Several opposition members of Parliament have expressed their intention to table the no confidence motion against Najib at the next sitting later this month.