The desperation of UMNO to hold elections this year despite the real possibility of serious floods occurring at the end of the year due to climate change is certainly not in the national interest and may result in an unprecedented withholding of consent by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament at the request of the Prime Minister.
I note the views of Universiti Putra Malaysia scientist Haliza Abdul Rahman that GE15 preferably be held after February next year, warning that the floods situation during the monsoon season at the year-end might be worse than last year as reported in Malaysiakini today.
There seems to be no signs of UMNO taking heed of such warnings as it continues to insist on the elections being held this year.
The refusal to consent to a request for the dissolution of a State Legislative Assembly has only occurred at the state level in the country in the past.
The YDPA has the power to withhold his consent to a request by the PM to dissolve Parliament under Article 40(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution, which is a prerogative power, but such a refusal has never occurred at the federal level.
By insisting on holding elections at a time when it may be dangerous to do so, UMNO may be putting the YDPA in a most precarious position by forcing him to exercise his said power under Article 40(2)(b) which ought to be avoided as same may trigger a debate as to whether this would be inconsistent with the principle of a constitutional monarchy, as some might argue.
In an article titled Dissolution of Parliament International – IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 16 by Elliot Bulmer, the author states:
“The head of state may also be permitted to refuse a dissolution of parliament to a prime minister who does enjoy the confidence of parliament if it appears to the head of state that two conditions are met:
(a) that the government can be carried on without a dissolution; and
(b) that a dissolution would not be in the national interest.
The second of these conditions is less easily determined, but it might arguably apply if a sudden election would be likely to upset the country’s economic stability or diplomatic interests or if the prime minister were advising a dissolution for purely opportunistic reasons.”
As it is becoming increasingly obvious that UMNO is advocating the dissolution of Parliament through the PM, particularly when it is unclear if the Cabinet has even been consulted on the matter, it is clear that the request by the PM to the YDPA to dissolve Parliament is purely for the opportunistic reasons of UMNO which cannot be in the national interest.
The PM should not bow to the pressure of his political masters at the expense of the nation but should instead, focus on stabilising the economy by, amongst others, saving costs that would occur if a general election was held now and a few state elections later, and planning ways to avoid the potential devastation that the impending floods may have on the country.
The nation must always come first and not any one individual or political party.
UMNO’s insistence on a general election now is in utter disregard of national interests which the PM, as the country’s chief steward, must protect.
Dated this 3rd of October, 2022.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY