No such thing as backdoor govt, says Senate president

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says it is constitutional for MPs to withdraw support to back another as prime minister.

(FMT) – There is no such thing as a “backdoor government” under the Federal Constitution, says Senate president Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The former law minister said the matter of which party or coalition wins a general election is not mentioned in the Federal Constitution.

He said the only thing that matters, according to the constitution, is that the prime minister must command the confidence of the majority of Dewan Rakyat representatives, or at least 112 MPs.

Therefore, it is constitutional for the government to be changed by way of MPs withdrawing support for the prime minister.

“(Such a change of government) is not a breach of protocol; it is legal and follows the guidelines of our laws and constitution.

“(Therefore, such moves) cannot be given an indecent name (like ‘backdoor government’), it’s not good. In reality, there is no ‘backdoor government’,” he said at a forum hosted by the Council of Professors today, without citing any particular event.

The “backdoor government” label was first used to describe the Muhyiddin Yassin-led Perikatan Nasional government, which was formed in February 2020 after the Pakatan Harapan administration collapsed.

The PH government fell after Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister, citing a loss of majority support after Bersatu quit the coalition and several MPs defected from PKR.

Wan Junaidi also said there was a misconception among the public that statutory declarations (SDs) had the authority to initiate a change in government.

He maintained that SDs can only be used if the King requests for them, as a “guide of sorts” to determine which MP has majority support.

Earlier this month, Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor claimed that PN had enough SDs to unseat the unity government, though he did not disclose the number of declarations obtained.