KUALA LUMPUR — As the scheduled sitting of the Dewan Rakyat for 27 days from Nov 2 to Dec 15 gets closer, the issue of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is much talked about.
A total of 16 MPs, namely 11 from Amanah and five from Parti Pejuang Tanah Air have submitted notices to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun seeking to table the motion.
According to constitutional expert Assoc Prof Dr. Shamrahayu Abd Aziz, a no-confidence motion had never been submitted in the Dewan Rakyat but it had happened once during the sitting of the Kelantan state legislative assembly on Oct 15, 1977.
She detailed several questions on the motion of no confidence including whether a certain amount is required for the motion to be submitted for listing in the agenda of the Dewan Rakyat.
She said the Standing Orders do not require any number for a motion to be included in the agenda of the Dewan Rakyat.
“During the last sitting, Langkawi MP (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) submitted a motion of no confidence, and the motion was listed in the agenda of the meeting but was not debated,” Shamrahayu said in her Facebook post which was also posted on Tinta Minda column via Bernama.com portal.
On why such a motion was listed at the bottom of the order paper, she said it was because the motion was brought by a private member and did not represent the government.
Rules 15 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders clearly state that government business shall have precedence over other business, and arranged in accordance with government considerations, she said.
However, Shamrahayu said, the tabling of a private motion can be preceded if the motion is moved by a minister as stated in Rule 14 (2).
“This happened once when a minister moved the agenda for the tabling of Bill 355 (Amendment of the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965) to enable the private bill brought by Marang MP (Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang) to be read. But, this is a difficult thing to do,” she said.
On the motion that wants the no-confidence motion to be put forward on the grounds that the issue is an important matter in determining the validity of the appointment of the prime minister, Shamrahayu said it could be done with the consent of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat members.
She also said that the Standing Orders could be amended, including to provide specific provisions on the motion of no confidence.
“Standing Orders are rules and not an act. Since the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the country, nothing can override it. Therefore, these rules are also subject to the Federal Constitution,” she explained.
Shamrahayu said the no-confidence motion was submitted on several factors, including that the prime minister was not eligible to hold the post due to his inability to perform his duties; make decisions that are detrimental or adversely affect the country; or unusual circumstances such as switching parties.
A vote of no confidence may occur in a number of circumstances, namely a formal vote in the Dewan Rakyat; government bills not passed on second and/or third readings; the prime minister fails to get a vote of confidence after submitting a motion of confidence; the government failed in the implementation of important policies as well as extraordinary circumstances such as switching parties or members of the Dewan Rakyat informing the head of state (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) for a change in confidence.
Nevertheless, she said there was a view that the prime minister who is subject to a vote of no confidence has a chance to obtain a vote of confidence after a reasonable period of time.