Raja Sara Petra reply to Professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi:
Universiti Malaya Associate Professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi responded to my previous posting where I said, “Malaysians should not just look at voting as a right, although it is. They should look at it as an obligation, your duty. You have no right to complain about the country if you did not bother to vote. By not voting that means you do not care about Malaysia.”
The professor said, “Anyone can complain, that’s the right they have under the Federal Constitution as well as their basic human right. Freedom of expression is guaranteed under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and every citizen has the right to voice out their complaints on whatever issues and problems related to the country.”
Maybe the professor does not comprehend the various ways ‘right’ can be applied in the English language.
The professor is equating ‘right’ as that stipulated in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Right in the English language, depending on its application and in the context in which it is used, can also mean morally correct, just, or honourable.
For example, if I were to say, “She has every right to be angry considering what her husband did,” that has nothing to do with ‘human rights’, ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘the right of expression’ as the professor argued.
Professor Awang then pointed out that citizens had no say in choosing who their prime minister was in the current system even if they voted.
“As long as all the division leaders and Umno supreme council members support the prime minister, that prime minister will remain in power.”
That statement is actually misleading and not quite accurate.
According to the Constitution, the Member of the House (meaning Ahli Parlimen) who in His Majesty the Agong’s judgment or opinion commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the House gets sworn in as the prime minister.
To determine who has this confidence of the majority of the Members of the House, the leader of the party that won the most number of seats in the general election would be deemed that person.
In the 2013 general election, Umno won 88 seats, which is only 39.6%.
The Barisan Nasional coalition, however, which Umno is a member of, won 133 seats or 59.9%.
Prime Minister Najib Razak happened to be the chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN) and since Umno won 88 or 66% of the 133 seats that the coalition won, they unanimously agreed that Najib would represent the coalition as prime minister since this is the ‘partnership agreement’ that was established when Barisan Nasional was formed in 1973.
Professor Awang should explain this and not say that Umno chooses the prime minister.
Umno just chooses its party president.
The party or coalition that won the most number of seats in Parliament chooses the prime minister.
Now, Malaysia has 222 Members of Parliament.
Let us say that 122 MPs passed a vote of no confidence against Najib and propose that the Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail be appointed Malaysia’s new prime minister.
Can that happen?
In theory it can and there is nothing in the Constitution to stop that from happening.
So Umno has no say in who becomes prime minister.
And is this not what Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been trying to do since October last year?
Mahathir wants Najib ousted through a vote of no confidence in Parliament so that he can be replaced.
Last week in London, Mahathir said he wanted Muhyiddin, a non-Umno leader and an opposition member, to replace Najib.
So this would mean the Umno president cum BN chairman would no longer be the Prime Minister.
Professor Awang, stop teaching young people the wrong thing.
Please don’t confuse my use of the word ‘right’ as a move to violate the Constitution.
If I say you have no right to twist what I said, I am not talking about rights as in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Are we now on the same page regarding the meaning of the word right?