Haniff insists Agong has power to remove Najib

hanif-nazri-abu-talibPETALING JAYA: Despite views by several legal minds that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has no power to simply remove Prime Minister Najib Razak, one lawyer insists it can be done.Lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla said intervention by the Agong was the only way left to remove Najib, as all other methods had been made “impossible”.

Haniff said this in a Facebook post this morning, in response to former de-facto law minister Nazri Aziz’s remark that the only way to remove a sitting prime minister was through a vote of no confidence in Parliament.

“How does Nazri expect to convince the readers that there is a practical, constitutional way to take down Najib, when he himself had last year admitted that no ‘no confidence vote in Parliament’ can succeed in our country’s political landscape?

“The route to take down Najib by referring to the Agong, which is also a legal way supported by the Federal Constitution, is because all other legal options have been crippled due to the abuse of the prime minister’s post.”

Haniff had, at a forum on Wednesday, claimed that Section 29 of the Constitution’s 11th Schedule stated “where a written law confers upon any person or authority a power to make appointments to any office, the power shall be construed as including a power to dismiss or suspend any person appointed and to appoint another person temporarily in the place of any person so suspended”.

Nazri, a lawyer by training, had responded by saying: “The Constitution says the Agong appoints a prime minister based on the support he receives in Parliament.

“So as long as he has the confidence of the majority of the parliamentarians, he cannot be dismissed. To dismiss a prime minister, he must be defeated through a vote of no confidence.”

Former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman agreed with Nazri’s stand, saying whether the Prime Minister should remain in office or not would have to be decided by the majority of MPs. And to remove him, they would need to move a no-confidence motion.

Alternatively, he had added, a majority of MPs could make a representation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that they no longer supported the Prime Minister.

“This is the legal principle established by the Federal Court in 2010 after the Perak case, following the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat Government.”

Abu Talib disagreed with Haniff that the provision in the Schedule could be used as a basis to remove the chief executive of the government.

He said the provision cited by Haniff could be used only to remove ministers as the King appointed them on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had last year called for a no-confidence motion against Najib to be tabled in Parliament.

This, however, failed and earlier this year Mahathir led a Save Malaysia movement in the quest to collect signatures from the public to seek the Agong’s assistance in bringing down Najib.

This too has not worked, as, according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Agong had said that there was nothing to be done as the Citizens’ Declaration “was not in accordance with the Constitution”. – FMT

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