Until recently all changes of governments in Malaysia, from the states to the federal level, then to the states again were being carried out through the signing of the so-called Statutory Declaration (SD) or in Malay it is known as Akuan/Sumpah Berkanun, by members of parliament and state legislative assemblies (MPs and ADUNs).
It clearly demonstrates that the role of the parliament and the state legislative assemblies (also known as the legislatures) in calling for either a vote of confidence or no-confidence vote within the legislature sittings has been totally ignored.
So, shall we call it a “change of government” or “coup d’etat” (pertukaran kerajaan ataupun rampasan kuasa)? Well, since the process of changing the governments were not carried out inside the legislature sittings, the governments were toppled from outside by way of “declaration of numbers”, while the SDs were only signed and submitted later on, to the royal households, then it should be more accurately known as a “coup d’etat”, because the process of no-confidence vote did not take place in the legislature sittings.
Let us take the case of the Perak state government which was toppled in 2009. The Barisan Nasional (BN) ADUNs did not send a notice to the state legislative speaker to request for a special sitting in order to table a motion of no-confidence against the then Menteri Besar at that time. Instead, these BN ADUNs held their private meeting in the state UMNO office in Ipoh and declared their “numbers” to the press from there. Furthermore, the declaration was made by the UMNO Pekan MP Najib Razak who is not even an ADUN of Perak. The UMNO ADUN who is the state opposition leader did not make the announcement when it was supposed to be his role to do so.
Same goes to what took place in Putrajaya this year on last February. All MPs who did not want to support the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government anymore “convened a special meeting” at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya (later known as the Sheraton Move) to declare their numbers and signed their SDs while having their meals and discussions, instead of providing a sufficient notice to the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat in order to table a motion of no-confidence to remove PH from the seat of the government.
The same situation (the Moves) also took place later on in Johor and Perak states respetively where the state governments were removed from outside instead of having a no-confidence vote carried out in the state legislatures. In such Moves, such acts were deemed as MPs or ADUNs staging their rebellion against the mandated administrations from outside the legislature means to topple the respective federal and state governments in order to establish new administrations which we shall call it as the rebel governments, simply because these new administrations in place were not installed via people’s mandates.
Therefore, no matter how much efforts these rebels MPs and ADUNs has done, be it signing up their SDs, getting the all of them to swore in a new ones via the support of the feudals, they are still considered illegitimate rebel governments because they did not achieve any victory in the first place. What all these rebel MPs and ADUNs did were just having their numbers declared at the state UMNO office, Sheraton Hotel, state BN office and whatsoever instead of moving their motions of no-confidence via legislature means.
In this case what we saw today proves that the Statutory Declarations Act 1960 (Akta Akuan Berkanun 1960) has been blatantly misused for achieving ones’ political mileage to obtain powers and to sideline the sacred constitutional roles of Federal and State Constitutions (Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan Negeri-negeri), in such, those MPs and ADUNs had resolved that these constitutions were already obselete and its relevance are gone. Is that so?
If such Moves continue to take place, we would like to put forward this question, where are the relevence of the parliament and state legislative assemblies? Are these institutions still a relevant avenue for MPs and ADUNs to seek their votes to be counted or have their voices to be heard? Then, if the roles of these legislatures as an avenue to detemine the directions of our nation and the states no longer requires, abolish it by amending the constitutions or have the entire system revamped.
To us, the best solution to prevent such Moves again is to revamp the Federal and State Constitutions to have the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Menteris Besar directly elected by the people, while Federal and State Cabinets (Ministers and State Excos) to be appointed from amongst pool of reliable technocrats or professionals, then having the Federal and state legislatures tasked in carrying out full check and balance roles, discharging their actions via legislature select committees overseeing government ministries, state-owned-enterprises, statutory bodies and state administrations’ policy implmentations and budgetary activities. MPs and ADUNs who wish to be appointed to the Federal or State Cabinets must first have their legislature seats vacated to allow a by-election to elect a new representative.
Well, in order to see such changes through, we must have politicians with strong political wills to carry them out if they want Malaysia to progress and move forward. Or else, our nation will be moving backwards continuously.