‘King will have final say’

Letter of the law: (from left) Sri Ram and Shad Saleem say the King has the complete discretion on the dissolution of Parliament.

PETALING JAYA: The King has complete discretion to decide on the dissolution of Parliament and does not have to follow the advice of anyone, say constitutional experts.

This is especially so now when the country faces never-before-seen circumstances, said former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has complete discretion on the dissolution of Parliament.

“Should he find that a dissolution of Parliament is not in the interest of the economy or security of the country, he can say no. If he finds that a dissolution is injurious to poorer citizens, he can also say no.

“Furthermore, in Malaysia’s history, there has never been a situation where a minority group of 38 MPs is pushing for dissolution,” said Sri Ram.

Umno, which is pushing for dissolution, has only 38 MPs in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.

He was asked to comment on the powers of the King under the Federal Constitution on the dissolution of Parliament.

“The Cabinet too has never been divided in such a way, as seen by the letter from 11 Perikatan Nasional Cabinet Ministers to the King disagreeing with an election being called this year.

“In the past, the call for a dissolution has always been supported by a majority of MPs.

“It was Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah who agreed to a unity government between the parties,” said Sri Ram.

Constitutional law expert Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi also said that under Article 40(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution, the King could say no to dissolving Parliament.

“The law also states that there is no time limit within which the King has to make a decision upon advice from the Cabinet or representative of the Cabinet.

“He could take one day or one year,” said Shad Saleem.

Shad Saleem further explained that the King is entitled to any information, such as weather forecast, to make his consideration on dissolution.

Yesterday, the King visited the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to be briefed on the northeast monsoon and national flood preparations.

“Should the King assent to a dissolution, there must be a new Parliament within 120 days from the date of dissolution.

“The general election has to be held within 60 days, which must include a nomination date and a minimum campaign period of 11 days,” said Shad Saleem.

There has been much talk of a possible dissolution of Parliament when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had a royal audience with the King yesterday.

Ismail Sabri’s party is demanding that elections be held this year, but the outcome of yesterday’s audience remains unclear.

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