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Thursday, 30 January 2014 | MYT 5:19 PM

Kajang by-election: Constitutional crisis a possibility say legal experts

Syahredzan Johan.

Syahredzan Johan.

PETALING JAYA: A constitutional crisis could be triggered in Selangor if current Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is forced out of his post said a constitutional lawyer.  

Syahredzan Johan said while he realistically doubted such a circumstance coming into play there were a few situations where a crisis could be triggered.  

One of these situations would be if Khalid requested the Sultan to dissolve the assembly and the request was granted said Syahredzan.

“In this situation a new state election would have to be called.  I doubt that will happen because Khalid seems to have accepted the possibility that he might be replaced,” he said adding that the Sultan could not dissolve the assembly at his own discretion.  

There has been speculation that opposition leader Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim could replace Khalid for the top post in Selangor.

This followed the announcement that Anwar would contest in the Kajang by-election following the resignation of assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh on Monday.  

Syahredzan said another possibility of a crisis was if the Sultan did not accept the appointment of a new Mentri Besar.

“Lets just say that Anwar is proposed as Mentri Besar, but the Sultan uses his discretion and does not appoint him. We would then have a crisis on hand,” he said.

Syahredzan explained that under the Selangor constitution, the Sultan has a discretion in the appointment of the Mentri Besar.

“In almost every other matter, he acts on advice but in this matter he has discretion. But it does not mean that his discretion is unfettered. His decision must be in accordance with the constitution,” he said.

“The Menteri Besar must be someone who in His Royal Highness' judgment has the support of the majority of the legislative assembly,” he added.

However, Syahredzan said that by convention the party or coalition with the most seats in a parliamentary democracy such as ours should be able to choose the Mentri Besar.

“If Pakatan proposes Anwar, HRH should by convention appoint him for the post,” he said.

Members of Selangor PAS said they will propose a candidate for Mentri Besar should the post become vacant.

“If PAS proposes a name as well, it’s going to be a numbers game on who has support of the legislative assembly. I however don’t foresee that happening because all parties want stability,” said Syahredzan.

Lawyer Edmund Bon believes there might even be a crisis if Khalid decides to leave on his own accord.

He said that if Khalid resigns as the MB, he must also tender the resignation of his Exco.

In a post on website Loyar Burok, Bon said that problems might occur if Khalid does not give reasons for his resignation or does not provide advice to HRH.

“HRH may appoint another MB who commands the confidence of the majority of ADUNs in the Assembly or HRH may dissolve the Assembly for fresh elections.

“Given the intra-party factionalism in PKR, it would be unlikely HRH appoints the MB from PKR. Anyway, PKR is in the minority in Pakatan,” he said.

After Lee’s resignation, PKR has 13 seats in the assembly compared to 15 each from PAS and DAP.

Bon also said that in the event the Sultan did not consent to Khalid’s request to have the assembly dissolved, Khalid and the exco would be forced to resign.

Bon said that if HRH had to choose the Mentri Besar, PKR would not likely feature again.

“I suggest that if the conflict comes to a head, the best option in the circumstances would be to dissolve the Assembly and let the voters punish PKR.

I would only conclude to say that Khalid is – unlike  Nizar in Perak then (in 2009) – in a strong position to hold out if he wishes to. It is only for Pakatan to lose the State now,” he said.


Tags / Keywords: politics , Kajang by election , constitutional


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