Sunday, 13 September 2015

Removing a PM

Sin Chew Jit Poh
11 September 2015


This is a purely hypothetical scenario.
A party wins the elections. Following convention, their leader becomes Prime Minister. Things go well for a year, then the PM starts doing crazy things. He sells off all our fighter planes and uses the money to buy a fleet of luxury jets for him and his family. He is known to chase civil servants around his office throwing durian seeds at them when they displease him. At the United Nations he makes a long rambling speech about his prowess in bed. He is corrupt, cruel and perhaps a little mad.
What can we do?
According to our current PM, absolutely nothing. Not until the next general election.
Sounds crazy right? Well, of course it does. Nowhere does it say in our Constitution that a PM can only be removed at election time. Ultimately, he or she is the person who holds the confidence of the house. Such crazy behaviour in my purely hypothetical scenario may cause a PM to lose that confidence. If the MPs do not support him in large enough numbers then he can either step down, or call for a dissolution of the house in order for fresh elections to be held.
And there is nothing unpatriotic or unconstitutional to call for the stepping down of the PM. There are procedures with which this can happen. It is disingenuous for the PM to suggest otherwise and it is obtuse for his Minister for Parliamentary Affairs to say that he has the majority support of the house. Obtuse because we don’t really know unless there is a vote of no confidence.
Besides, how can they have such short memories? It was only four years ago that the BN got the Menteri Besar of Perak sacked because they supposedly had got the majority of the house against him.
And how about Abdullah Badawi resigning before the elections? Have they forgotten that as well? If we take the PM’s words to their logical conclusion, since Badawi stopped being PM before the elections, then it is unconstitutional and therefore the current PM is unconstitutionally holding his post.
I am not suggesting this is the case of course. All I am suggesting is that if the current government want to defend their PM, stop doing so with statements that are utterly wrong.

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