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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Is the cabinet superior to Parliament?

 


ADUN SPEAKS | What we see before our eyes in Malaysia today is nothing less than a heinous perversion of the very democratic institution that is supposed to protect national interest - committed by those who are in power to preserve their own political agenda at the expense of the spirit and substance of democracy itself.

We see that Parliament proceedings are being stifled, even relegated to be a mere one-way forum for the executive to "brief" MPs on the emergency, a matter of grave national urgency and importance. 

Honourable elected members of the superior and august Parliament are dishonoured. 

They are being denied their rights to assess the government by debating and voting on the emergency and the ordinances promulgated thereunder.

The executive is exercising all its powers and exploiting all legal imperfections to circumvent its parent body - the legislature - from assessing its decisions and actions, and ultimately avoiding its own likely fall from grace. 

Not allowing any motions to be voted on, whether it be a confidence motion or a motion to accept or reject the emergency vis-à-vis allowing or otherwise for its effects to remain in force for another six months, are all clear evidence of in fraudem legis abuses of the prerogative of the executive.

It is also abundantly clear that positions and actions taken by the speaker of the lower house - of passively allowing the government’s agenda to block legislative assessment of the executive’s policies and legitimacy - is a flagrant display of political puppetry by the supposed subordinate executive.

The ills of our nation are much deeper than having an incompetent, failing and traitorous government. The aggregate actions over the last 18 months by these political "undeads" who are haunting and terrorising the corridors of power, have created a much deeper problem that is unravelling and dismantling the very foundations of this nation we call home.

Parliament - the legislature, the voice and representation of the people, which is supposed to be the supreme power in our constitutional existence as a country - has been rendered subservient to the executive. This is against the very DNA of parliamentary democracy.

The executive is manipulating and abusing its privileges of power, using every trick in and outside of the book, to escape accountability and to cling on to power.

There is no honour nor benefit in extending the hold on power other than individual power, especially when there is abundant evidence that the current executive is failing miserably.

Everyday norms of Parliament and state assemblies enshrined in their respective standing orders like ministerial question times, motions, bills and their debates and voting are all features that exhibit and demonstrate the superiority of the legislatures over the executive.

Yet, we are embroiled in this perversion of power dynamics, where legislatures are being manipulated and subordinated to the whims and fancies of the executive. 

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin needs to bite the bullet and hand over power back to Parliament to determine the fate of his government, and more importantly, the people.

If it transpires that he survives a confidence motion, then he will be free and unshackled to carry out whatever his executive sees fit, and Malaysia will continue to spiral into further darkness. 

If he doesn't, at least he will be remembered for setting our democracy back towards the right path.

And the right path is where the cabinet is subservient to Parliament, not the other way round. 

Lest we forget, the Parliament represents vox populi, vox dei suara rakyat, suara keramat. - Mkini


HOWARD LEE is the state assemblyperson for Pasir Pinji in Perak and the DAP Youth chief.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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