BN can’t stop members from not backing Anwar as PM, says lawyer

Noel Achariam

Lawyer Haniff Khatri says should BN decide to support Anwar, that decision cannot bind MPs to go along with it. That’s unconstitutional. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 21, 2022.

THE Barisan Nasional chairman is not in a legal position to force any of its elected representatives to support Anwar Ibrahim as the next prime minister, said lawyer Haniff Khatri. 

He said that according to Article 43(2) of the federal constitution, the decision of electing a prime minister is left up to individual members of parliament, and not subject to any party decision. 

He noted that Article 43(2) provides the king with the power to appoint the prime minister and the formation of a government by determining the member of parliament who, in His Majesty’s opinion, has the majority support of Dewan Rakyat members.

“Should BN decide to support Anwar, that decision cannot bind MPs to go along with it. That’s unconstitutional.”

“Any Umno member can say they don’t want to support Anwar or Muhyiddin Yassin (Perikatan Nasional chairman). No action can be taken against them,” said Haniff. 

Earlier today, Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein stressed that he would not support BN’s cooperation with Pakatan Harapan.

The BN treasurer-general said that he would rather be sacked by the party than work with PH. 

“As I said yesterday and before this, (I) continue to reject working with PH. 

“I’m willing to be sacked by the party, but will never change my stance.”

“No Anwar (Ibrahim), No DAP,” he said in a tweet. 

Hishammuddin’s statement comes following BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s dismissal of all statutory declarations signed by BN MPs to support PN as invalid. 

Haniff said Zahid’s statement that every BN MP must support the decision to work with PH was against Umno’s previous decision of not working with Anwar.

“The decision made by the Umno supreme council at their annual general assembly in March 2021 was to reject Anwar and DAP.”

“Zahid cannot go against that decision in BN. He will then be against the decision of the party.”

Haniff also said that according to the constitution, the candidate who has the strongest majority in Parliament becomes the prime minister. 

“Article 43 (2)  left the decision of electing the prime minister as an individual decision of MPs, not subject to a party decision.” 

Yesterday, Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that all coalition  leaders must inform Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun whether they have secured a parliamentary majority and submit their choice for prime minister to Istana Negara before 2pm today. 

Zahid, however, asked the speaker, who is collating the sworn declarations, for more time.

The palace extended the deadline to 2pm tomorrow.

Earlier today Anwar said that PH was working to form a unity government with BN for the country’s stability. 

He also said he was still the prime minister candidate for the coalition.

“We had a discussion with BN. The most important issue is to create a stable government.”

“I’m very optimistic that we will be able to form a government that’s more transparent and democratic to safeguard the interests of the rakyat,” he said at Seri Pacific hotel in Kuala Lumpur. – November 21, 2022.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.


  • A legal stooge of Mahathir, the now disgraced politician is trying to speak out for him as usual as if there is no AHL. Ask other brilliant legal minds and I am very sure there will be opinions contrary to what this stooge has to say on behalf of his master

    Posted 1 year ago by Brave Malaysian · Reply

  • Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin in a statement said:

    The leaders of the political parties and coalitions will be asked by the speaker to inform him on the alliances that have been agreed.

    They must also present the name of a Dewan Rakyat member who has the confidence of the majority of the House, following the coalition of the political parties, to be named as prime minister candidate, the statement read.

    The Palace has since given until 2pm tomorrow to present the name of the prime minister candidate.

    Azhar later said that each MP from parties that agree to form a bloc and be part of the majority government must sign individual SDs stating their clear support for the prime minister candidate.

    Prominent lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos, meanwhile, said with the Anti-Hopping Law in place, SDs are not necessary.

    With the Anti-Hopping Law, it is sufficient for the king to talk to the presidents of each party or coalition, he told The Vibes.

    An MP who does not agree with the partys decision must resign, then the seat becomes vacant, he said.

    Jahaberdeen pointed out that Article 49 (A) (1) (a) of the federal constitution clearly states that if an MP resigns from the political party the seat becomes vacant.

    However, if they are sacked from the party they can only become independents as the law forbids them from joining any other party.

    Jahaberdeen also opined that while the speaker has been given the mandate to seek the decisions of the parties with the most seats, asking for SDs is going into the internal affairs of the political party which is not necessary.

    It is not wrong to ask for SDs but under the current legal provisions, it is not necessary and also burdensome.

    And as we have seen, SDs are unreliable and create more confusion and problems, Jahaberdeen said, referring to previous instances where MPs had signed more than one SD.

    My suggestion is for the Agong to talk to the heads of the political parties. Anwar represents 82 members and Zahid speaks on behalf of 30, he said.

    Then, His Majesty can also talk to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of Perikatan Nasional (who has 73). The Vibes, November 21, 2022

    Posted 1 year ago by Brave Malaysian · Reply

  • What will happen if soldiers can disobey their officers? Why have leaders, if everyone decides?

    Posted 1 year ago by Citizen Pencen · Reply