Mahathir party about Rule of Law, legitimacy

Mahathir party about Rule of Law, legitimacy Photo credit: Straits Times

If the Rule of Law was being upheld in Malaysia, the former Prime Minister would not keep complaining that wrongdoings are being covered up and swept under the carpet.

PRESS STATEMENT Many people may not be seeing the forest for the trees. We are referring to reports that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will set up a new political party and make common cause with others like-minded for a new coalition in the Opposition.

Although much has been made of Mahathir wanting to oust Najib Abdul Razak, it would be tantamount to trivializing the new party if it’s argued that it’s all about Najib.

Najib is not the sum total of Mahathir’s new party.

It can be conceded that Mahathir himself has been no help as he keeps on harping on why Najib has to go. The former’s Prime Minister’s focus is not on the urban vote banks but on the rural Malays in Malaya.

That’s why he keeps his message simple based on the theme that “Najib curi duit rakyat” (Najib stole the people’s money). Mahathir also thinks that Najib is no leader.

If Najib did not put his hand in the “cookie jar” as he had often stressed, the alternative argument would be that he presided over 1MDB piling up debts totaling some RM50 billion within a few years, the RM2.6 billion political “donation” and the SRC International controversy, among others.

The bottomline is that Najib was just an analogy, illustrating what Mahathir has been preaching all this time. The former Prime Minister is concerned that the Rule of Law (laws rule) was not being upheld in Malaysia.

The Federal Constitution is based on the Rule of Law. If it’s not upheld, that means there’s no enforcement, indeed even a breakdown of law and order.

Rule by Law (men rule) – i. e. resort to Sedition Act, Prevention of Crime Act (Poca), Sosma, and National Security Council Act – must not be mistaken as Rule of Law. Rule by Law is all about selective prosecution and selective persecution bordering on shades of a police state.

If the Rule of Law was being upheld in Malaysia, Mahathir would not keep complaining that wrongdoings are being covered up and swept under the carpet, and that the Prime Minister was going after the authorities concerned when they get too close to him in their investigations into wrongdoing. So, it’s clear that if and when Mahathir’s party comes to power, it will enforce the laws as required by Rule of Law, the foundation of the Federal Constitution.

The former Prime Minister also had several points in his favour when he questioned the legitimacy of a government under Najib.

Firstly, the Prime Minister himself claimed that the RM2.6 billion donation was to help the ruling Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) win the 13th General Election.

Secondly, although Najib secured a majority of the seats in Parliament, he only managed to get 47 per cent of the popular votes cast. David Cameron won a majority in Parliament and a majority of the popular vote. He could only persuade 48 per cent of the British people to vote for the UK remaining in the EU. He announced his resignation immediately.

Mahathir should bear in mind that legitimacy was not just confined to Malaya but must include Sabah and Sarawak as well. The Federal Constitution must be read together with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and related constitutional documents for what constitutional experts would describe as the Malaysian Constitution, albeit an uncodified one.
Also, Mahathir presided over an accelerated influx of illegal immigrants into Sabah — when he was Prime Minister — and a “significant” number of them ended up on the electoral rolls in violation of the Federal Constitution. Mahathir has yet to redeem himself in Sabah. The RCI Report on Sabah refers.

Daniel John Jambun
President
Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), United Kingdom

 

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