Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed today apologised for amending the Federal Constitution by removing the need for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s signature and approval in lawmaking.
Mahathir in his blog chedet.cc published an article ‘Apology’ expressed that although he made such an amendment during his tenure as premier the changes did not apply to all legislations, and some laws passed by Parliament would still require the King’s express consent and signature, such as the National Security Council (NSC) Act 2016.
He said that there were more than thirty proceedings listed out in the Federal Constitution that still needed the Agong’s approval frequently without the advise of the Prime Minister.
“Among these rights and power is that of declaring a state of emergency. The state of emergency is reserved for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong because it’s implications are serious.
“It gives the government the right to suspend laws. With this right the government can arrest and detain any person without trial.
Clause (I) of Article 150, Proclamation of Emergency states “If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.
Mahathir pointed out that a proclamation of emergency under Clause (I) may be issued before the actual occurrence of the event which threatens the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that there is imminent danger of the occurrence of such event.
“The power conferred on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by this Article shall include the power to issue different Proclamations on different grounds or in different circumstances, whether or not there is a Proclamation or Proclamations already issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under clause (I) and such Proclamation or Proclamations are in operation,” he added.
However Mahathir said declaring the National Security Act is now legal even though it does not get the assent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Prime Minister Najib Razak was not adhering to the amendment to the Constitution made then.
“The amendment to the Constitution which can render the consent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong unnecessary is not total.
“The consent and signature is still needed if the act impinges on the authority and position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“And the National Security Act certainly impinges and makes the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of Emergency superfluous and unnecessary.
“For this Act the assent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong remains necessary,” he said.