Malaysia Dateline

Has Ismail’s majority disappeared that he is running away from a vote of confidence?

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang has called upon Prime Minister Datuk Sri Ismail Sabri to follow the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s decree and table a vote of confidence to prove his legitimacy as Malaysia’s 9th Prime Minister.

This is after a recent statement by Attorney-General Idrus Harun who said that a vote of confidence is not necessary despite the King clearly asserting that the new Prime Minister must prove his legitimacy in Parliament.

In a statement last Saturday (4 September 2021), Kit Siang warned the Attorney-General that he should not stray into the political minefield but strictly keep to his role as the legal advisor to the government.

The veteran DAP lawmaker then reminded both Idrus Harun and Ismail Sabri of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree on 18 August.

The King stressed that the Prime Minister appointed by His Majesty in accordance to Article 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution must urgently table a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat to prove the legitimacy of majority support from the Members of of the Dewan Rakyat.

Kit Siang then further elaborated,

“Nobody doubts that the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s appointment of Ismail Sabri as the 9th Prime Minister is fully in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.“

“With such a royal decree, the Attorney-General’s contention that ‘If the appointment of a new prime minister still needs legitimacy from anyone besides His Majesty, this means His Majesty’s sole discretion can be overruled by others’ collapses.”

The Iskandar Puteri MP then gave examples of two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who tabled a vote of confidence on themselves as their very first acts in Parliament.

Furthermore, given that a motion of confidence is still missing from the schedule of the Dewan Rakyat sitting this 14 September, doubts arise over Ismail Sabri’s willingness to adhere to the decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Surely the Bera MP would not want to disregard the King’s decree in one of his first acts as Malaysia’s 9th Prime Minister?

Kit Siang then stressed,

“Is Ismail Sabri afraid that his majority of 114 MPs has disappeared in less than a month and that he could not get a majority of at least 111 Members of Parliament to vote in support of a vote of confidence in him as Prime Minister ?”

This new Federal Government must learn from the previous failed Perikatan Nasional government that running away from proving majority support in Parliament would only cause doubts on the competency and confidence of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

Therefore, Ismail Sabri must do what his direct predecessor never did and urgently table a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat.