Kedah Menteri Besar and The State Constitution

January 23, 2016

Kedah Menteri Besar and The State Constitution

by Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijhar


The Man of the Moment (Front Row-Center)

Legal queries have been raised on the stand taken by the division heads of a political party, declaring their lack of support for the Menteri Besar (MB) of Kedah.

Their expression of loss of confidence has no legal significance. The matter can only be resolved by the governing law – which is the Laws of the Constitution of Kedah (LN. 32/1959).

The state constitution makes clear the following:

1. An MB is appointed on the basis that he commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the state legislative assembly.

2. He can only be removed if he ceases to command that confidence. This must be shown by a vote taken at the assembly. The decision is made by a simple majority.

3. If a majority vote in favour of the motion of loss of confidence, then the MB can do one of two things:

a. He can request the Ruler to dissolve the legislative assembly. Then a general election of the state must be held within 60 days of the dissolution.

b. If the Ruler does not do so (it is in the Ruler’s discretion whether to do so or not), the MB then tenders the resignation of the entire Executive Council (in effect the state cabinet).

c. The Ruler then appoints an MB who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the assembly.

4. When the Ruler is the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) – as is the case in Kedah now – his functions are carried out by a Regent or Council of Regency. The Regent or the Council would have been appointed by the Ruler when he was elected to be the YDPA.

When the assembly is not sitting or convened in accordance with its Standing Rules – then it is unclear whether the Regent has the power to make a decision, whether or not the MB no longer commands the confidence of the majority.

One view is that he has such power. But this view is not free from contestation.

* Gurdial Singh Nijar is Professor, Law Faculty, Universiti Malaya.



8 thoughts on “Kedah Menteri Besar and The State Constitution

  1. Quit or Fight. That is Murkhriz’ s choice. But Najib can remove him from UMNO. Does the Prime Minister the political courage to do it? I think you know the answer.–Din Merican

  2. The constitution is similar to the one in Perak, yet Najib could pull the rabbit out of the hat. Could he do it for the second time? After all, he has built a global reputation of being a “great magician” … the type that everyone can see the trick but yet the magician walk around proudly thinking he has pulled off a great act.

    This is Mukhriz’s moment. How he deals with this will shape his political future.

  3. To UMNO, it is UMNO’s Constitution which Najib and his cahoots will apply in this case in Kedah to remove MB. There is no rule of law where UMNO is concerned.

    The Aduns in the state in this case are believed to be uneducated of the state constitution for trying to revolt to remove Mukhrizi. Their boss is another ‘dungu’ reacting to the feelings of the dissidents who are crazy of power grab.

    So in this case, leader, Najib himself is not perfect in ruling the country so his followers following by example. It’s not surprising anyway! Najib has the buying power with RM2.6b+ to wait for the right time to eliminate Mukhrizi.

  4. The chicken has come back to roost
    Remember Osman Aroff

    M called State Assemblyman one by one into his office

    Finally Osman had to go

  5. After Perak, and all the crap thrown around by UMNO especially since the early 80s, does any one still believe the rule of lay still rules? Or whether latent primordial instincts have come to the fore again. Its still a dog eat dog world after all.

  6. Quote:- “Their expression of loss of confidence has no legal significance”

    “Legal significance” is the last thing on their minds. It is “political significance” at play here, and played out for the benefit of the Kedah Malay heart-landers.

    If a Menteri Besar son of Mahathir throws in the towel 10 seconds into a 3 minute fight, then what else can anyone do to save Malaysia?

    If ever any of you pious people want to pray to God for help, this is the most opportune time in Malaysian history to do so. And if even God couldn’t or wouldn’t help, then…………..

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