Mahathir’s mistake a lesson to all

Aug 26, 2016
DAP's Pandungan assemblyman Wong King Wei.
DAP’s Pandungan assemblyman Wong King Wei.

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s admission that he amended the Federal Constitution to curtail the monarch role in approving laws of the land should serve as a lesson to all politicians in the country.

Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei said politicians should be reminded that politics was about creating a good system to be left as a legacy for the country and not about gaining power or popularity.

“It was a honest admission on the part of Dr Mahathir of his previous wrongdoings.

“All politicians in Malaysia have to be reminded by Dr Mahathir’s painful lesson that politics is about creating a good system to be left as a legacy for the country. Politics is not about gaining power or popularity of the day,” he said.

He was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s apology for amending the Federal Constitution to curtail the roles of Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the legislative branch.

In 1994, the Dr Mahathir-led government passed amendments to the constitution to allow any law that had been passed by Parliament and the Senate to become law within 30 days, irrespective of whether the Agong gives his assent.

Wong, who is state DAP publicity secretary, said a leader must not only think of how to gain power or popularity by implementing policy or make a stand without contemplating its long term effect.

“A good policy must be based on justice and common good for all and for the long term.”

Wong said in the case of Dr Mahathir, curtailing the power of the institution of royalty was actually amounting to curtailing check-and-balance and separation of powers of the institutions, which should not be done.

Wong believed that Malaysia needed more check-and-balance between the institutions: judiciary, legislative, government, prosecution, enforcement and even royalty.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely, this is my belief. No one institution should be given excessive power without supervision.”

Dr Mahathir said it would seem that due to the amendment, the new National Security Council Act has become operational, even though the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has not signed it.

However, he said anything that had to do with the Agong’s right to declare emergencies still required his signature.

The NSC Act grants the prime minister the power to declare security zones, whereby the security forces would take charge.

Critics have said this was akin to declaring an emergency, something which only the Agong could do.

On Feb 17, the Conference of Rulers asked for the NSC Bill to be refined, but this was not done.

Following that, according to the national gazette, the NSC Bill was automatically assented the following day, on Feb 18, as per the amendments that Dr Mahathir oversaw.

The bill was gazetted into law in June, and came into force on Aug 1.

Source: The Borneo Post