Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Parliament and the King's Assent

Anwar Ibrahim wants the Federal Court to declare null and void the Federal Constitution provision that allows bills to be automatically passed as law in 30 days, without the King’s assent. 

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who represented her husband, Anwar, in filing his case at the Federal Court registry on Tuesday, said that this is Anwar’s bid to restore constitutional democracy and fundamental rights. 

Anwar is adamant that power does not rest solely with Parliament to pass amendments – as this removes the mandatory proviso of royal assent. He maintained that the royal assent forms the basic structure of the Federal Constitution. 

Therefore, he is seeking leave under Article 4(4) of the Federal Constitution from the Federal Court to question the validity of a few amendments made in 1983, 1984, and 1994 that removes the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s powers to give the final approval for bills passed by the Dewan Rakyat. 

By that token, Anwar also wants the courts to declare that the National Security Council Act, which became law in June 2016 without a royal assent, is invalid. He named the government as the sole respondent in this direct challenge. 

Previously, he had filed a lawsuit to strike down the National Security Council Act. He had claimed that Article 66(4A) which allows a parliamentary bill to automatically become law 30 days after it is presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regardless of whether he assents to it or not, was unconstitutional. 

However, his lawsuit was dismissed by the High Court in October 2016 and the Court of Appeal upheld the decision last year. In dismissing Anwar’s appeal, the appeals court had said he should have gone straight to the Federal Court as he was challenging the competency of Parliament to pass the law. 

The controversial NSC Act was passed by the Dewan Rakyat on December 03, 2015 and the Dewan Negara nineteen days later. 

The law, gazetted in June 2016, allows the prime minister to chair the National Security Council to declare a state of emergency without having to go through the King. 

Anwar's suit is timely because the last time I checked, we are still a constitutional monarchy. 

Liverpool pulled off another victory when they beat Leicester 2-1 in the EPL game on Saturday. 

Jamie Vardy gave his team a third-minute goal but Mohamed Salah's double (52, 76) helped the Reds come from behind to win at Anfield. 

Manager Jurgen Klopp described it as the "best I've ever seen".

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