The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin or he must seek a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat following the announcement by Umno president Zahid Hamidi that Umno has withdrawn its support for the PM and that at least 11 Umno MPs to date have declared a similar position to the president.
Mahiaddin’s parliamentary strength has dropped to at most 104 only, seven seats short needed for a simple majority.
Bersih 2.0 underlines that it is irresponsible to prolong the political instability and deny Malaysians a functioning government while the country is facing a raging pandemic and an ailing economy.
If Mahiaddin believes he can still command a majority, he must convene the Dewan Rakyat and table a motion of confidence in himself immediately, notwithstanding the widely disputed proposal of a 14-day suspension by the director general of health.
If Mahiaddin fails to prove his majority and refuses to resign, he should be dismissed by the Agong to pave the way for the appointment of a new prime minister, as per Article 43(2a) of the Federal Constitution.
The other alternative of a fresh election has been ruled out by the pandemic, a position the Mahiaddin government takes with the imposition of the localised emergency in Sarawak.
With the resignation or dismissal of Mahiaddin, the Agong should exercise his discretionary power under Article 40(2) of the Federal Constitution by reaching out to leaders of all major coalitions and parties to see if any of them have gathered a viable majority, which may be obtained through confidence-and-supply agreements.
While ultimately any new government’s survival should be tested by a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat immediately after its swearing in, and individual MPs may act independently from their party’s position, the process of a government coalition should be party-based in the initial stage.
If every MP is called in, this will only raise the likelihood of seat-buying, prolonging the political stalemate, putting the country’s governance on an autopilot mode, ultimately undermining the legitimacy of our parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.
Bersih 2.0 calls upon all parties to protect the institution of the constitutional monarchy by not pressuring the palace to act in any way different from what is expected under the Federal Constitution and the Westminster constitutional conventions.
Bersih 2.0 also urges the bureaucracy, the police and the military to observe absolute neutrality while the elected political leaders negotiate on government formation or retention. Any partisan act may invite subsequent retribution after the dust settles and prolong the political crisis. – Bersih 2.0