THE MEMBER SPEAKS | The interpretation of the law by AG is contrary to parliamentary democracy

THE MEMBER SPEAKS |I read with concern the media statement released by Attorney General Idrus Harun on June 25.

The media statement appears to convey the following erroneous views:

I. That the ultimate powers in a parliamentary democracy rest with the executive. This goes against the very idea of ​​parliamentary democracy.

ii. This legislation and these subsidiary laws may derogate from the provisions of the Federal Constitution. This is a perverse interpretation of the law because the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of Malaysia.

Ultimate powers in a parliamentary democracy rest with Parliament

The ultimate powers of a parliamentary democracy rest with Parliament, whether parliamentary democracy has a written constitution or otherwise. In Great Britain, where there is no written constitution, it has always been said that Parliament reigns supreme. In Malaysia, where there is a written constitution, Parliament still reigns supreme as, subject to the conditions set out in the Federal Constitution, Parliament has the power to amend the constitution. (See the Federal Court decision in Rovin Joty Kodeeswaran v Lembaga Pencegahan Jenayah, Ors and Other Appeals [2021] 4 CLJ 1.)

The executive / cabinet is subordinate to Parliament as the formation of the cabinet is conditional on the prime minister obtaining majority support from Dewan Rakyat. Article 43 (3) of the Federal Constitution also makes it clear and clear that the cabinet is collectively responsible (accountable) to Parliament. Nowhere in the Federal Constitution is it provided that Parliament can be suspended by the executive. The scope of article 150 of the Federal Constitution dealing with the state of emergency is clear. All the powers exercised by virtue of this article must be limited and face the threat to security, economic life or public order in the Federation. Therefore, Article 14 (1) of Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) 2021 suspending Parliament is ultra vires Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

Adjunct professor of law at Universiti Malaya …


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