Idris: Federal cabinet ceases to exist following PM’s resignation

Dato Idris Buang

KUCHING, Feb 24: Following the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Muhamad as prime minister and almost half of his cabinet members – from his party Bersatu and few from PKR splinter group, the federal cabinet ceases to exist, opined PBB information chief Datuk Idris Buang.

“To me there is no ‘federal cabinet’ at the moment. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the Ruler and the institution cum the only ‘government’ in existence now.

“(Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Wan Azizah may not be able to take over automatically as it would be constitutionally wrong,” Idris said in a statement issued here today.

He said, the Federal Court case of Datuk Amir Kahar Tun Datu Haji Mustapha versus Tun Mohd Said Keruak & Ors in 1995 could be of reference whereupon when Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan resigned, the Federal Court then deemed his whole cabinet to have resigned in total.

“Therefore, we can say that when Tun Mahathir resigned today, there is no ‘federal government’ in existence,” he said.

Idris who is also Muara Tuang Assemblyman also referred to an FMT report which quoted a retired judge Gopal Sri Ram who held the view that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will have to appoint a prime minister from among Dewan Rakyat members to head a caretaker government as required by the constitution when a prime minister resigns.

“The appointment is at his (Agong’s) discretion and cannot be challenged in a court of law,” said Sri Ram, citing Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, which states that the king appoints as prime minister a member of the Dewan Rakyat who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority.

Sri Ram said the prime minister would then form a caretaker cabinet to run the administration.

“Preferably, the prime minister should go to the house as soon as possible and take a confidence vote. If he wins the vote, he remains in office with his Cabinet members,” Sri Ram was quoted saying.

However, if he loses the vote, Sri Ram said the prime minister would go back to the king to report the outcome.

“The prime minister can request that the king dissolves the house for a fresh election to be held. If the request is refused, he has to tender his resignation for the king to appoint another MP as prime minister,” said Sri Ram.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas is expected to make an announcement regarding a caretaker government soon.

On the related issue of the role of GPS in the current political imbroglio, Idris said it is best to leave the matter to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who has been mandated by GPS leaders to make decision based on what is best for Sarawak. — DayakDaily