A vote of confidence would not undermine Agong's powers
5 September 2021
1. It was reported that the Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun had said that a vote of confidence in Parliament is not necessary as it would undermine the King's powers.
2. In our recent live Webinar "Kebersamaan UPKO dalam Perjuangan Pakatan Harapan", YB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim explained that during the audience of the leaders of all Political Parties with the King, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has decreed that a vote of confidence must be brought to Parliament. The Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong who was also in attendance emphasised that the vote must be the first item on the agenda before the Agong's opening decree. All the leaders of the political parties who was in attendance was said to have agreed to this.
3. Therefore, if the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong has decree that a vote of confidence must be made, surely the Attorney General's view for such vote of confidence in Parliament would undermine the King's power cannot be correct.
4. Secondly, to test or to prove the majority support against a Prime Minister can always be made through a motion of either vote of confidence or vote of no confidence in Parliament by the members of the house.
5. If we take the view given by the Attorney-General that such motion of vote of confidence would undermine the King's power to decide and appoint a Prime Minister, then there will never be a time that a motion of vote of confidence (what more a motion of vote of no confidence) can be appropriately tabled in Parliament.
6. A vote of confidence cannot be said to be undermining the King's power to appoint a Prime Minister (who in the Agong's opinion is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat) because that power and discretion ceased to exist when a Prime Minister had been appointed and sworn in.
7. With respect to the AG's view, his logic would not be the correct understanding and appreciation of the situation. As once the Prime Minister had been sworn in, the authority and tenure of his office had been legitimised and secured.
8. As such, a motion of a vote of confidence (or no confidence) after a Prime Minister had been sworn in is legally a test on whether he still command the majority support on his 'leadership' as Prime Minister because the moment after he had been sworn in his decision-making and qualities as a leader would be scrutinised. The confidence and support by the members of the house could have changed after this. It has nothing to do with undermining the power and discretion of the King.
9. It is therefore based on these logic, that a motion of vote of confidence can and should be table in the coming Parliament sitting.
Nelson W Angang
Secretary-General of UPKO