What coup, Clare?


Sarawak Report’s suggestion that Prime Minister Najib Razak usurped powers shows ignorance and scandalises the monarchy.

Rahim Zainuddin, Free Malaysia Today

Startled by Sarawak Report’s latest treatise on how Prime Minister Najib Razak apparently “launched his coup against his own country”, I am now inclined to challenge not only the journalistic competence of Clare Rewcastle-Brown but her Britishness itself.

In trying to reach the giddy heights of Jeffrey Archer’s ‘unputdownable’ First Among Equals, she appears unfortunately to have suffered a nosebleed.

Najib “drove a coach and horses through the constitution,” she insists, “in order to put himself above the law”. Citing “legal authorities,” Rewcastle-Brown claims that “only the Agong and not the Prime Minister has authority to dismiss the [Attorney-General].”

And that is where I challenge her Britishness.

Any Commonwealth lawyer will tell you that in the Westminster system of government the monarch serves a purely ceremonial function and acts entirely on the advice of the prime minister. Does Queen Elizabeth II do it any differently, Clare?

Our Federal Constitution actually provides as much: “Article 40 (1): In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution;…..”