Dissolution can go ahead in King’s absence with consent

KLANG: Amid mounting speculation on the dissolution of Parliament, fresh doubts have emerged with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong beginning a visit to the United Kingdom.

Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will grace the launch of the Battersea Power Station in London, which is the initiative of a Malaysian conglomerate, and will be away until Sunday.

The big question is whether Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob can announce the dissolution of Parliament with the King not being in the country.

Talk is that Ismail Sabri has received the King’s formal consent to dissolve Parliament and that the Prime Minister has relayed this to Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

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If this is true, constitutional law expert Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said the King’s physical presence in the country was not required.

“If the King has consented to the dissolution of Parliament with a date fixed and if this has already been gazetted, the dissolution can take place even if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not in the country,’’ he said.

Dr Shad Saleem said three elements – the King’s formal consent, a fixed date and gazetting of the dissolution – must be fulfilled.

He said these formalities must be strictly adhered to as the dissolution of Parliament was a crucial event which will see “222 MPs losing their jobs” and the Election Commission getting into action to set a date for nomination and polling.

Lawyer and activist Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir echoed the view, adding that once consent to dissolve Parliament had been made, the Federal Constitution provides no restrictions as to where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must be.

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“Consequently, Parliament can be dissolved once consent is given by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and any question of the King’s whereabouts thereafter is, to my mind, constitutionally irrelevant,’’ he said.

Political observers urged Ismail Sabri to announce Parliament’s dissolution as soon as possible if it was indeed true that the King had already given the green light.

“We don’t know how foreign direct investments will react if the dissolution of Parliament is left hanging and the general election is delayed,’’ said political analyst Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian.

He said indications of Parliament being close to dissolution were clearly evident.

“The Umno top five have met and the Prime Minister has also had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,’’ he said, adding the early tabling of Budget 2023 was also an indicator.

Academic Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam said putting up with an unstable political situation was not good for the country.

“Politicians must realise and understand that it is not about them, it is about the common people who want a united and trouble-free government to mend the country,’’ she said.

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