LETTER | With the announcement by the Election Commission (EC) of the official final tally for all 222 parliamentary seats in the 14th general election, a new era greeted the people of Malaysia this morning. For the first time in the history of this nation, there will be a change in regime in the federal government and several state governments. This momentous and unprecedented result is a clear tribute to the people of Malaysia, who turned up in huge numbers to cast their votes despite all impediments.
The Malaysian Bar congratulates all elected representatives — at both the federal parliament and state legislatures — on their victory. We wish them well in the discharge of their sacred duty as the voice of the Malaysian people. We hope and expect each and every one of them to do his or her utmost to uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land, defend the rule of law and the cause of justice, and serve their constituents with absolute commitment, transparency, accountability, honour and integrity. The people of Malaysia, and the Malaysian Bar, demand — and expect — no less.
In accordance with Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall “appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House”.
The political parties in Pakatan Harapan had, at the outset of the 14th general election, collectively nominated Dr Mahathir Mohamad as their candidate for prime minister, and the BN coalition had selected Najib Abdul Razak as its prime minister-designate.
Based on the official declaration of results by the EC, it appears that the number of members of parliament from the Harapan coalition and its political allies is clearly in excess of the 112 members of parliament required to obtain a simple majority. Further, at his press conference earlier today, Mahathir confirmed that all elected MPs from Harapan and its political allies have signed a declaration endorsing him to be the prime minister.
As such, Mahathir commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat), and it thus follows that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must appoint Mahathir as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia. The rule of law must prevail at all times.
This appointment must be done immediately, without further delay, as the country is currently without a government in place. Furthermore, any delay in such an appointment will lead to unnecessary rumours and speculation, which the nation can ill afford.
The swearing-in ceremony of Mahathir as the prime minister, which is expected to take place today, must proceed expeditiously and without incident.
The Malaysian Bar applauds and welcomes Mahathir’s statement that the government-in-waiting intends to restore the rule of law.
The Malaysian Bar repeats our pledge to work with the incoming government to uphold the rule of law, defend the fundamental freedoms and rights of every Malaysian, and realise our collective aspirations for an equitable and just nation.
GEORGE VARUGHESE is the president of the Malaysian Bar
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