COMMENT Friends who watch foreign TV news channels have asked me whether Malaysia will be able to follow the example of South Korea in the current leadership crisis found in that country.
In the case of South Korea, their lawmakers recently voted overwhelmingly in Parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling and corruption scandal. If successful, it will set the stage for her to become the country’s first elected leader to be expelled from office in disgrace.
The impeachment motion was carried by a 234-56 margin in a secret ballot in parliament, meaning that at least more than 60 of Park’s own conservative Saenuri Party members backed removing her.
The votes of at least 200 members of the 300-seat chamber were needed for the motion to pass.
The Constitutional Court must now decide whether to uphold the motion, a process that could take up to 180 days.
“I solemnly accept the voice of the parliament and the people and sincerely hope this confusion is soundly resolved,” Park said at a meeting with her cabinet, adding that she would comply with the court’s proceedings as well as an investigation by a special prosecutor.
Although I am not an expert on parliamentary systems, I think that this option or related ones should be explored by our parliamentarians in bringing closure to the 1MDB and personal bank donation scandals that have plagued the prime minister and our country.
It is necessary to point out that there are important similarities in the two cases of leadership crises in South Korea and Malaysia. Both involve allegations of corruption and abuse of power. Both have seen peaceful crowds rally in support of action to remove their heads of state. Both have also seen their heads of state resist demands that they step down.
According to Wikipedia, a motion of no confidence (alternatively vote of no confidence, no-confidence motion, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion is a statement or vote that a person or persons in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position: perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental.
As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the head of state (in our case, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong) that the elected Parliament no longer has confidence in (one or more members of) the appointed government.