Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Constitution reigns supreme, but only if adhered to

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YOURSAY | 'It must be clarified, once and for all, as to who has the right to appoint the MB.'

The Johor ruler's role in replacing the menteri besar

Milshah: Good article by lawyer Lim Wei Jiet. It clearly explains the role of the Johor ruler, and what he can or cannot do. 

The article also confirms what Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been saying, that the country is a constitutional monarchy, not an absolute monarchy.

Based on the facts of the article, the party that controls the majority of the Johor Legislative Assembly can put forward just one name for menteri besar, and not a list of names for the ruler to choose from. 

The ruler is then bound to appoint the one who commands the majority of the state assembly. The law does not state if the ruler has the right to reject the name of a candidate who has majority support.

It would be interesting if Pakatan Harapan submits just one name. Based on what is explained in this article, Harapan is well within its right to do so.

Shovelnose: The limits of jurisdiction are quite clearly stated in the Johor Constitution, but how many do care to read it or find the relevant clauses?

Highlighting the constitution on social media is of limited use, because how many would read past one screen, digest the text and analyse the intention of the document?

The Wakandan: The role of a constitutional monarch is obvious, there should never be any doubt about it, nor should this power be abused by any party. Again, the word is constitutional, not absolute, monarchy. 

Maybe certain personalities concerned got carried away because a lot of attention has been paid to the '3R's of late. These must be understood correctly and in context.

Sivadass: The same was said before, during the Perak crisis not long ago, and it ended with BN taking over, although there were calls for the dissolution of the state assembly. 

The meeting under the tree is now all but forgotten. Then there were several court cases and the menteri besar’s post was handed back to Pakatan Rakyat, and almost immediately handed back again to BN.

So, one can say the constitution is supreme and that no one is above it. But I am of the opinion that who yields power more effectively will decide if the constitution is to be adhered to or otherwise.

We all remember the judicial crisis during the first term of the current prime minister. Where were the constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers then?

The doctor ‘changed the ‘prescription’ to suit his fancy. And now it will be tested once again. We shall wait and see if the constitution reigns supreme, or which of the two characters in the new episode will dictate the final result.

Knowing the doctor, he might bring out the ‘X-ray machine’ to reveal some ‘skeletons’ and gain the upper hand – as he always does.

Fernz: 'Conventions' cannot be passed off as precedent. It is not law. The court will decline to hear about convention. It will only rule on the law and the constitution.

If the sultan picks the menteri besar, the candidate can decline, and if he doesn't decline, the state assembly can throw him out.

The rulers have no power. Power comes from below, i.e., the people. Authority and jurisdiction come from above, i.e., the law and constitution.

When the previous king wanted to appoint Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as Prime Minister, instead of Pakatan Harapan chairperson Mahathir, she declined.

When the Selangor sultan wanted to appoint Mohamed Azmin Ali as MB, instead of PKR president and Selangor PKR chief Wan Azizah, he did not decline. PKR should have taken disciplinary action against him.

The court is not about ethics, moral values, theology, sin, God, justice or the truth, but about law. Religious advice or opinion can only become law if it is based on the rule of law, the basis of the constitution, and passed by a legislature. In that case, no reference is made to the religion. The source is the rule of law.

Until the Federal Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, rules otherwise, the federal government will stamp its authority on Johor. The sultan can only be seen, not heard.

The lawmakers on the government side in the state assembly choose the menteri besar. The menteri besar heads the state government. The sultan, as head of state, can only act upon the advice of the menteri besar. The advice cannot be ignored.

It was the British colonialists who stopped toll collection by feudal chieftains at the river mouths of main waterways and elevated them into their current position, receiving an annual purse as compensation.

Kural: The current back-and-forth between Putrajaya and the Johor palace is unnecessary. 

A constitutional monarchy was bequeathed to us by the departing colonial powers. This governance system is laudable, in that it integrates traditional power structures with the necessary institutional requirements for a modern nation. 

However, efficient, effective and humane collaborative relations in such a system require time to become free of fiction. 

We should be getting there, notwithstanding these minor exchanges that can only lead to unnecessary disquiet.

Des Ng: A classic case of the tail wagging the dog. One particular person is flexing his muscles and everyone is kow-towing to him. Beware, authoritarianism comes in many forms.

We're not a democratic nation if rulers pick MB - Mahathir returns fire

Anonymous 2456541485523213: I want to live in a democratic country where people choose the government, and where the rule of law applies to all its citizens.

Anonymous_1cfbab6: It is time to either rewrite the constitution or go to the courts to clarify once and for all as to who has the right to appoint the menteri besar. 

Otherwise, this issue will rear its ugly head again. Politicians from both sides should stand together, as it affects the status and interpretation of the constitution.

Wira: Harapan has a huge majority in the Johor assembly. This reduces the political manoeuvrability of other parties. 

It will be difficult for the sultan to pick anyone except the assemblyperson selected by the coalition because the ruler's choice is limited by the condition that the candidate must be able to command the confidence of a majority of the assembly.

KS: Mahathir is having a field day capitalising on unwitting royal misstatements to whip up more anti-royal sentiment, to set the stage for his favourite sport – royal bashing. 

He is exaggerating royal interference so that he can further shave their constitutional power, to accrue executive power. And to think all of you don't want a dictator.

My2cen: The prime minister-in-waiting needs to back the current prime minister 110 percent on this matter. 

Strengthening the prime minister's position as chief of the executive is important, so that the government can run efficiently without interference from any party, even those sitting on thrones. 

No ifs, no buts – all Harapan lawmakers must back the prime minister on this matter, and all the rakyat who voted for Harapan must do the same.

Our fight is not over after overthrowing former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak – we have a long way to go.

The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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