Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What is to be Done With Selangor

Sin Chew Jit Poh
13 August 2014


What is to be done with Selangor? It is a complete mess and there appears to be no way out of the current impasse.

Ideally, the Menteri Besar should resign. I say this because he is MB by virtue of winning his state seat, and he won that seat by virtue of being a PKR candidate. Therefore when his party does not support him any longer, the correct thing to do will be to step down. That is the correct thing to do. Legally he does not actually have to do anything. Allow me to explain.

The MB is appointed by the Sultan on the basis that he has the support of the state legislature. The best way to know if an MB no longer has that support is by holding a vote of no confidence. According to the case of Stephen Kalong Ningkan v Tun Haji Openg [1966], such a vote can only take place on the floor of the legislature. Since the Selangor state legislature is not sitting, this vote cannot be conducted.

Now, Tan Sri Khalid has obtained the approval of the Sultan to continue as MB. He says that he has the support of the state legislature. The DAP and PKR have questioned the truth of this claim because according to them, all their state legislative assemblypersons as well as a few PAS assemblypersons have agreed that they want Wan Azizah to be the new MB. In other words they claim that the majority of the house does not support Khalid.

For me, who is right and who is wrong is a moot point. I believe that the proper way to determine whether Khalid still has support is by having vote of no confidence in the state legislative assembly. Procedurally, this way is more transparent and it also shows a respect for the legislative house and the state constitution.

Unless and until this vote is held, the Sultan is correct in continuing to support Khalid’s tenure as MB. To do otherwise would be unwise as it could open the door to all sorts of opaque practices. Even if it seems obvious that Khalid no longer has the support of the house, for example by signed declarations of the majority of the state assemblypersons, I still think that the best way to go would be to follow procedures carefully i.e. have a vote of no confidence in the state legislature, and then if the MB loses, he really ought to resign.

By respecting the proper procedures, the Pakatan Rakyat will be showing that they adhere to procedural propriety and the rule of law. As it is many people in Selangor are fed up with the way things are.  If the Pakatan try to overcome this impasse by using methods which are not completely transparent and according to the state constitution it will only add to the sense of unease that the people are already feeling.

This situation has been very poorly managed by the Pakatan. If they do not do things properly in their efforts to replace the Menteri Besar, public opinion of them will fall even lower. The state legislative assembly sits in November, it is best to be patient and wait until then to do the needful.






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