Twisting the Constitution is not political reform


After 50 years of seeing the law twisted by Barisan Nasional politicians, you might think that those preaching political reform would try to avoid doing the same.

But commentator “Hakim Joe” in a letter to Malaysia Today lambasting Pakatan Rakyat for inaction on reform, does just that in discussing who can be prime minister (or deputy prime minister, in his argument).

Hakim Joe says Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh “do not qualify because the Constitution forbids it on racial grounds”.

That is just wrong. It is false. There is no such thing.

Perhaps Hakim Joe prefers to see race-based quotas at the highest levels. But his own preferences do not make the law.

After 54 years of constitutional government, you would think some things would by now have been well understood, such as:

  • First, anyone can be prime minister. There is no bar, by law, on who can be prime minister.
  • Second, the Constitution does not even mention any such post of deputy prime minister. The job just does not exist in law. It exists only as a practice among Alliance and Barisan Nasional politicians.

If the Constitution says anyone can be prime minister, it is ludicrous to say the Constitution then bars Lim Kit Siang or Karpal Singh from being chosen as deputy prime minister “on racial grounds”.

That is a plain lie.

It is one thing to argue for reforms. It is another thing to push a lie in the name of reform.

Article 43 of the Federal Constitution only says that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong chooses a Cabinet of Minister, after first choosing a prime minister. He has the power to choose, and he must choose an MP who, in his view, commands the support of the Dewan Rakyat.

That is all.