Agong has power to dismiss PM, asserts lawyer

haniff khatri

Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Haniff Khatri says a provision in the Federal Constitution gives the Agong the authority to do so, dismissing claims by BN leaders that there is no such power.

(FMT) – It is wrong to suggest that the Yang diPertuan Agong has no power to remove a sitting prime minister, says lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.

Haniff, who represents former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the Federal Constitution clearly stated that the “power to appoint includes power to dismiss”.

“Some quarters have raised questions about the Agong’s power to act against the prime minister (Najib Razak). To me, the answer is in the Constitution, which is the country’s highest piece of legislation.

“Article 40(2)(a) states that the Agong may act in his discretion in the appointment of a prime minister. It doesn’t talk about the power to dismiss the prime minister.

“But Section 29 of the 11th Schedule says that where a written law confers upon any person or authority a power to make appointments to any office, the power shall be construed as including a power to dismiss or suspend any person appointed and to appoint another person temporarily in the place of any person so suspended,” he said.

He added that as the Schedules were made alongside the Constitution, to leave them out would make the latter incomplete.

“So the answer is there, but we don’t look. And when we don’t look, we won’t know,” said the lawyer at a forum here last night.

He was referring to statements made by Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders in dismissing the Save Malaysia movement’s attempt to have the Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, remove Najib.

This, they said, was because the Agong had no such power and that the only way to oust a “democratically-elected leader and government” was through the general election.

Their comments came following Dr Mahathir’s audience with the Agong on Sept 15, where he had reportedly handed the latter a set of Citizens’ Declaration documents containing 1.4 million signatures calling for, among others, the removal of Najib.

The Prime Minister’s Office later issued a statement saying that the Agong had informed Najib of the meeting. The statement also said that the Agong had told Mahathir that there was nothing to be done as the declaration “was not in accordance with the Constitution.”