Anwar Ibrahim mudah lupa


I was blissfully ensconced in my comfortable living room enjoying my hot mug of freshly brewed Robusta coffee and following the proceedings of the zoo august House on TV when my ears pricked up. Puchong, backed up by Jelutong, Sepang and Lembah Pantai started spewing falsehoods again. And now, Port Dickson is pushing the same key question.

The issue brought by the Opposition this morning is, “Has the Agong consented to the revocation of the ordinances?” In fact, last night, as I was writing my previous post, this question was paramount on my mind. But I did not want to jump the gun. I said to my wife, “How much you want to bet those idiots will ask if the Agong has consented to the revocation?” She replied, “Five kilos of musang king.”

Looks like I will be enjoying musang king very soon.

The quick answer to the Opposition’s question is, “Does it matter?”

Let’s look at what the Opposition is saying. They insist that 150 (3) requires that the revocation of any ordinances created during the Emergency needs the King’s consent. YES and NO. I will explain, elucidate, and enlighten.

But, pray, allow me to digress very quickly. It looks like the Opposition has realised its blunder and that the Proclamation of Emergency is still in operation until it expires on 1st of August, and that only the ordinances created under the Emergency have been revoked, on the 21st of July.

So now they are left with very little bullets, attacking the Government on who has the authority to revoke those ordinances and if said revocation have been consented to by the King. The Speaker said that the law minister will respond on Monday next week. A very reasonable point. The Government has set a timetable for the Special Session. The Speaker is only executing that timetable. The Opposition, as expected, is pretending not to know that there is such a thing as a timetable.

Back to the question at hand. YES, the Agong should consent to revocations of ordinances created under the Emergency. That is the process. Parliament legislates law, Cabinet creates ordinances during Emergency, and the Agong assents to said laws and ordinances. In the same manner, when Parliament amends laws and Cabinet revokes ordinances during an Emergency, His Majesty assents to such amendments or revocation. BUT… NO, it is not a constitutional finality that the Agong MUST assent and if His Majesty doesn’t consent, it would not be the end of the world. His consent, according to the Constitution, is immaterial. It is right there in Chapter 5, Article 66(4A) of the Constitution. Let me quote the entire Article in full:

Chapter 5—Legislative procedure
Exercise of legislative power
66. (1) The power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by both Houses (or, in the cases mentioned in Article 68, the House of 53 Representatives) and, except as otherwise provided in this Article, assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
(2) Subject to Article 67, a Bill may originate in either House.
(3) When a Bill has been passed by the House in which it originated it shall be sent to the other House; and it shall be presented to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for his assent when it has been passed by the other House and agreement has been reached between the two Houses on any amendments made in it or when it is required to be so presented under Article 68.
(4) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall within thirty days after a Bill is presented to him assent to the Bill by causing the Public Seal to be affixed thereto.
(4A) If a Bill is not assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong within the time specified in Clause (4), it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he had assented thereto.
(4B) (Repealed).
(5) A Bill shall become law on being assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or as provided in Clause (4A), but no law shall come into force until it has been published, without prejudice, however, to the power of Parliament to postpone the operation of any law or to make laws with retrospective effect.
(6) Nothing in this Article or in Article 68 shall invalidate any law confirming an undertaking given by the Federal Government to the effect that a Bill to which the undertaking relates shall not be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his assent except in accordance with the undertaking.

So there you have it, dear reader. The Agong’s consent is immaterial and all the vociferous arguments from the Opposition are purely academic bluster with no real effect. Whether or not the Government has procured the Agong’s consent after the 21st of July will have no effect whatsoever because 30 days after 21st of July, the revocations would AUTOMATICALLY be deemed revoked.

Now, I am an old man who loves his exotic brands of coffee and his cosy retirement. I also love to reminisce, and I still remember like it was yesterday when the nation underwent three constitutional crises. Who amended the Constitution to strip the rulers of their stamp of approval in 1983? Who curtailed the powers of the judiciary in 1988? And who, together with his Deputy Prime Minister, in 1993 decisively shredded the curtain of legal immunity that the rulers hid behind? Read for yourself, dear reader:

Revisiting 1993 Constitutional Crisis – Unerasable Historical Facts

Article 66 (4A) of the Federal Constitution won’t be amended, says Dr M

Code of ethics signed by Malay rulers 30 years ago draws the line on politics, business and media

Proclamation of Constitutional Principles

Anwar Ibrahim, before you call anyone derhaka, remember what you did in 1993. Before you insist on demanding that the Speaker allows point of order to seek clarification on whether the Agong has consented to the revocations, do not pretend to forget Article 66(4A). You may fool some gullible person watching you prance and perform on TV right now, but you do not fool us lawyers.

And to the lawyers on the Opposition bench who insist on asserting these falsehoods intentionally and mischievously, desist immediately! Or are you a bunch of incompetent, thick half-past-six goondu lawyers who did not pass your Constitutional Law?

Dave Letterman
Coffee connoisseur, retired loyar burok and unaccredited political analyst