Chief ministers’, mentri besars’ tenures fall under state constitutions — Wan Junaidi

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 3: Although Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar agreed with limiting the tenure of prime minister to two terms, he queried the part of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 which involved similarly limiting the tenure of chief ministers and mentri besars.

He held the view that parts of the Bill involving the tenure of chief ministers and mentri besars infringed on the State Constitutions and state rights, especially that of Sarawak’s and that Sarawakian MPs needed to consider the complications that would arise from such an agreement.

“I have no problem with the bill when it involves only the tenure of the prime minister. The unfortunate aspect of the Bill is it includes also limiting chief ministers’ and mentri besars’ terms which I think is under State Constitutions and jurisdiction.

“To me, the federal government must observe and respect the state constitutions. It cannot pass a parliamentary bill which will bind the state governments. The Constitution of each state must be upheld and protected.

“The Bill should not have infringed into state constitutions. It is only correct for the Bill to just include the tenure of prime minister and leave states’ chief ministers and mentri besars out,” Wan Junaidi told DayakDaily.

To him, it was up to each state to decide on the length of tenure for its top leaders, but the Bill should not be imposed on each state through parliamentary decision.

For Sarawak in particular which is not a state, but a partner in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the case was even more debatable, he opined.

Wan Junaidi who is former Natural Resources and Environment Minister said that for the time being, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs had yet to make any decision.

“We have not discussed the issue among ourselves. Furthermore, all MPs will need to bring the Bill back to their party presidents to allow the top leadership of GPS component parties to sit together to discuss and make a decision.

“Since it involves the state constitution, we have to consult our State leadership,” he said.

“This move to amend the Federal Constitution to limit prime minister’s tenure is an attempt for the Pakatan Harapan government to fulfill its general election promise,” said Wan Junaidi.

According to The Star Online, a Bill to limit the tenure of the prime minister to two terms is expected to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat for the first reading by de-facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong today while debates are expected to take place in the next Parliament session in March next year. —DayakDaily