Post NSC Act Effect? Dr. M Forced To Admit He Made A Mistake By Curtailing Agong's Powers

Now what?

Cover image via Wazari Wazir/Flickr

It appears Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is finally regretting the sour grapes of the tree he helped plant two decades ago in 1993-94.

He has apologised for amending the Federal Constitution to curtail the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the legislative branch.

The amendments to the Federal Constitution effectively removed the need for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's signature and approval in lawmaking.

While writing on his blog, the former prime minister, whose over two decades of tenure weakened the independence of the judiciary and the traditional powers and privileges of royalty, said that he "would like to apologise for the amendment to the constitution which made the approval and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong no longer necessary for the legalising of an act of Parliament."

Admitting that the amendment has allowed for the controversial NSC Act, spearheaded by PM Najib Razak, to come into force without royal assent, Dr. Mahathir added that he, however, "would like to point out that the amendment is not for all laws."

"Some laws passed by Parliament will still need the consent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. In fact, there are more than 30 proceedings listed out in the constitution that still needs Agong's approval frequently without the advice of the PM."

Dr. Mahathir, while writing "I sincerely apologise for making the amendment as it is open to misinterpretation", however, added that the amendment to the Constitution which can render the consent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong unnecessary is not total

"The consent and signature is still needed if the act impinges on the authority and position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," he wrote, adding, "And the National Security Act certainly impinges and makes the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of Emergency superfluous and unnecessary.

For this Act the assent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong remains necessary."

He claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who declared the NSC Act legal even though it hasn't received the assent and signature of the Agong, is not adhering to the amendment to the Constitution

"Besides being superfluous the new National Security Act, by giving the power of the Agong to the Prime Minister is derogatory to the provision in Article 38 (4) which states “No law directly affecting the privileges, position, honours or dignities of the Rulers shall be passed without the consent of the "Conference of Rulers". Clearly the National Security Act, by encroaching unto the special position of the Conference of Rulers, is contrary to the rights of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency," reads Dr. Mahathir's blog post that was published on 25 August.

Dr. M also said that PM Najib, who made the Auditor-General's report on 1MDB an official secret, went against the constitution

"This is contrary to the provision in the Constitution wherein the report of the Auditor General should be submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and then laid before the House of Representatives. Clearly, the Government of Dato Sri Najib has not only ignored the provision of the Constitution but also acted against it by giving the report to the Attorney General. It was then classified as official secret."

Making a case for public to charge the government for attempting to hide the A-G's reports, Dr. M wrote that, "The essence of an audit is to expose any wrongdoings or mismanagement by those responsible for the monies of an organisation. By making the Auditor General’s report a secret the whole purpose of the auditing is negated."

While PM Najib has denied allegations that he misused public funds, the PM has been criticised of hiding the truth from the public by declaring the Auditor-General's 1MDB report as official secret

Read this to understand how the NSC Act, that gives powers to the council headed by PM Najib to arrest anyone without a warrant once an area is declared a security area, affects us all: