LETTER | At a press conference after his meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday (Nov 22), Muhyiddin Yassin said he had told the king that his Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition with not work with Pakatan Harapan when the Agong suggested a unity government.
Muhyiddin also said PN had 115 MPs supporting him to become the prime minister but the Agong said that it was not enough. He doesn’t know why the king said the numbers are not enough either.
On the same day, apparently, before Muhyiddin met with the king, BN secretary-general Zambry Abd Kadir confirmed publicly that no BN MPs - totalling 30 - submitted any statutory declaration (SD) backing Muhyiddin for the prime minister’s post.
Umno vice-president and the caretaker PM, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had also earlier confirmed that the BN supreme council has decided that it will not back anyone to form the government and will remain in the opposition.
Meanwhile, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which has 23 MPs, had on Sunday (Nov 20) in a press conference announced that they are backing Muhyiddin to be the prime minister. This confirmation, however, was amended in an official statement issued yesterday, which stated that the bloc will leave it to the king to decide on who should be prime minister.
Sabah’s Warisan also said in a statement yesterday that its three MPs will be backing Harapan and BN to form a new government.
Effectively, 56 MPs from BN, GPS, and Warisan have confirmed that they did not sign any SD to support Muhyiddin to be the PM.
Assuming the six MPs from Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, two Independent MPs, and the sole MP from PBM agrees and support Muhyiddin to be PM, along with all PN MPs, Muhyiddin only has the support of 82 parliamentarians to be the prime minister.
Even if GPS MPs did not withdraw their SDs supporting him, Muhyiddin would still have only 105 MPs behind him.
Where did the remaining 10 MPs that supposedly support Muhyiddin come from?
Was there a misrepresentation of facts by Muhyiddin in his submission of the SDs to the king?
SDs are commonly used for procedural matters, for example, where a business licence applicant may need to attest that he is not declared bankrupt.
The basic purpose of an SD is to obtain confirmation of the execution of any deed, written instrument, or allegation, or proof of debt which would otherwise be too impossible to prove.
In other words, it is to provide written proof to confirm something either too tedious or impossible to verify.
In a contractual context, if a person made an ordinary statement which turned out to be untrue, this would amount to misrepresentation that would constitute a breach of contract, which could then lead to civil action.
On the other hand, if a person made a false statement by way of statutory declaration, apart from being a misrepresentation, it would be tantamount to a criminal offence under the Penal Code and the person could be prosecuted.
The persons making all the SDs are elected lawmakers who are primarily tasked to make laws. Did they knowingly make all those SDs and realise its consequences?
The king should be concerned and wary of all these SDs allegedly made and presented to him.
Events in Aug 2021 and Oct 2022 where some of these MPs who have earlier signed SDs to support the prime minister and then withdrew it, forcing the prime minister in each instance to resign and call for a general election serves as a lesson that the SDs signed by these lawmakers are of no value and is only worth the paper that it is signed on.
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