Friday, September 19, 2008

Motion of No Confidence

There are at least two views about the ways by which PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim could realize his attempt to topple the BN government without having to go to ballot boxes. International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law professor, Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari, preferred the out-of-parliament method. According to Aziz, Anwar can just seek an audience with the Agong and show him the proof that he commands the support of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat. The Agong could then play a "proactive" role by getting Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to resign and then appoints Anwar as the new PM.
Former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas, however preferred a real floor test to be held in the Dewan Rakyat by passing an actual motion of no confidence against the PM. This method not only insulates the Agong from the political squabble, but also lends credence to Anwar's claim that he has more than enough BN MPs on his side to form a new government. But the downside of this method is that it would be extremely difficult to get the motion be debated in the Dewan Rakyat. The House Speaker, who is a member of the ruling party, would be very unlikely to allow the motion to be debated. The Pakatan Rakyat had tried this method before but it was to no avail.
There is a third option. In Westminster system, defeating a government's substantive bill, like a supply bill, is tantamount to a vote of no confidence against the PM and his entire cabinet. The PM and the cabinet must then resign or call for a fresh election if this ever happens. There is no need to apply for a motion of no confidence or drag the Agong prematurely into the crisis by forcing him to play a "proactive" role. The Agong may come in later to perform his constitutional duty in the normal course of the business, i.e. appointing a new PM under Article 40 of the Federal Constitution. This option can be exercised when the Parliament reconvenes in October. One of its main businesses is to pass the 2009 budget, which is a supply bill. But this option might be unpopular among Pakatan leaders as it will take time to materialize. One day is too long in politics.
All this can only happen if Anwar really has the numbers. Until now, this remains a six million dollar question.
Another option for Anwar is just to wait for the next general election. Pakatan Rakyat has control of one-third of the seats in the Dewan Rakyat and five states. As an Opposition Leader, Anwar could effectively play check-and-balance role in the Parliament and hold the government accountable to the rakyat. As the de facto leader of PKR, Anwar could effectively guide Pakatan policies in the five states and prove to the rakyat that they can perfrom better.
The rakyat has spoken in the last general election, so let them speak again in the next elections. As the tide is now with the Pakatan Rakyat, this option is not too far-fetched.


  1. It seems that 4 options here are good enough. According to u which one is more preferable? he he..

  2. Well, personally I prefer the third and fourth option.