Doors to change government this term sealed shut - Analysts

Sultan Ibrahim's statement indicated that he would not entertain requests that could disrupt political stability.

27 Feb 2024 12:13pm
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim. - Photo by Bernama
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim. - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - The decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim reminding all parties to accept the reality and respect the unity government formed signifies that the door to change the government for this term is firmly closed.

Research firm O2 Research Malaysia (O2) chief Anis Anwar Suhaimi said Sultan Ibrahim's statement indicated that he would not entertain requests that could disrupt political stability, showing that His Majesty would not adopt the approach used previously.

"Previously, adopting a diplomatic approach might have provided room for politicians to seize power compared to national development.

"In his statement, Sultan Ibrahim also mentioned that he will carry out the mandate as stipulated in the Federal Constitution and the laws that have been enacted," he said.

Anis Anwar emphasised this indirectly indicating that if Members of Parliament still intend to change the government, they need to prioritise parliamentary democratic practices first.

"They need to follow its rules before presenting it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or for consideration by His Majesty after the confidence or no-confidence process in the Prime Minister has been successfully proven in the Parliament," he said.

Additionally, Anis Anwar highlighted that Sultan Ibrahim's statement also reflects that His Majesty respects the democratic space within Parliament.

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"It depends on how transparent and open the government and the speaker of the house are in prioritising such a proposal if it occurs.

"However, if some Members of Parliament fail to complete this process within the Parliament's space, Sultan Ibrahim also advises accepting the reality and returning to contest in the upcoming elections," he said.

In the meantime, Universiti Malaya (UM), Department of Political Science, Public Administration, and Development Studies lecturer Dr. Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub emphasised Sultan Ibrahim's statement was accurate based on the Federal Constitution.

"His Majesty issued such an order based on Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint a Prime Minister to preside over the Cabinet, a member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives.

"Moreover, the 2022 Amendment to the Anti-Hopping Act currently in effect makes a change of government impossible," he said.

Tawfik was also confident that the door to a change of government was tightly closed due to the difficulty faced by Members of Parliament in altering their positions because of legal obstacles created to prevent party hopping.

"Therefore, the power to appoint the Prime Minister lies with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not confident in the majority support from any party to form the government, then the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the right to disregard and dismiss unrealistic requests.

"Today, it is clear that the majority of more than two-thirds of the seats are on the side of the unity government," he added.