King’s prerogative power has to be exercised in accordance with law, says PBK president

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, Jan 29: Prerogative power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) has to be exercised in accordance with the Federal Constitution, says Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan.

He was commenting in the context of the appointment of Tun Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as the Sarawak Governor (TYT), where he questioned the absence of an official announcement of outgoing Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s resignation.

He said as far as the appointment and removal of the TYT, these are governed by Articles 1(1) and (2) of the Sarawak Constitution and the King will act accordingly upon the advice of the responsible minister of the Sarawak government or by Sarawak Cabinet.

“Therefore, be it known to citizens that the exercise of the power to remove the Governor has to follow the constitution and the King should be properly advised by the Sarawak Government of the King’s power in the exercise of his powers under Article 1(2) of the Sarawak Constitution.

“Legal opinion is that, in Article 1(2) Sarawak Constitution, there is a condition precedent to be fulfilled first before the governor could be removed, that this, a vote has to be taken in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) by the members who supported the removal of the governor before the King could be advised to remove the governor,” he said in a statement today.

On Jan 26, Wan Junaidi received his appointment letter as the 8th Sarawak Governor from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur.

This symbolised the end of Taib’s tenure, which is ahead of the expiration of his term—the end of February 2024.

Voon further said it is the humble opinion of legal experts that the court has the jurisdiction to enquire whether, in exercising the King’s discretion under Article 1(2) of the Sarawak Constitution, the King has overlooked the condition precedent required by the clause.

“So, just that the King has certain discretion does not mean that ipso facto the jurisdiction of the court is ousted.

“The Cabinet Ministers by their oath of office have to protect the Constitution and should advise the King about the Constitution accordingly so that the King would not act morally unconstitutional against the Constitution, although, not legally wrong,” he added.

On Jan 27, Deputy Prime Minister Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof explained that the end of Taib’s tenure one month earlier is under the prerogative power of the King.

Yesterday (Jan 28), senior lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani also said that the TYT’s appointment by the King is in the exercise of the latter’s prerogative and full discretion. — DayakDaily