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Unconstitutional DIssolution - Karpal Singh
By web aNtu

26/12/1999 9:35 am Sun

Karpal Singh: Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional

Press Statement by Mr Karpal Singh, National DAP deputy chairman on the constitutionality of the dissolution of Parliament on 11 November 1999, which he issued on 22 December 1999:

THE CONVENING OF THE Dewan Rakyat on 20 December by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister before the Cabinet wa sworn in renders unconstitutional the oath taking of the new MPs and their actions subsequently.

What is more far-reaching, and has grave consequences, is the dissolution of Parliament by the King effective on 11 November (Proclamation by the King, attached) to enable the holding of General Elections to the Dewan Rakyat.

Article 44 of the Federal Constitution states: "The legislative authority of the Federation shall be vested in a Parliament, which shall consist of the Yang Dipertuan Agung and two Majlis (Houses of Parliament) to be known as the Dewan Negara (Senate) and the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives)" Clearly, by virtue of this article, Parliament comprises the King, the Dewan Negara and the Dewan Rakyat.

Article 55 (2) empowers the King to prorogue or dissolve Parliament. In dissolving Parliament on 11 Novewmber, the King has not only dissolved the Dewan Rakyat but also the Dewan Negara and himself! Effectively, from 11 November, the positionof King no longer exists in Malaysia. What follows from this, is that the Prime Minister as head of the caretaker Government pending the General Elections to the Dewan Rakyat could not have advised the King who no longer existed to summon the Dewan Rakyat after the elections. Neither could the Prime Minister do so after the Cabinet was sworn in after the elections as there is no King to advise to summon the Dewan Rakyat to enable new MPs to be sworn in and get on with business constitutionally and not have themselves including the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, disqualified (under Article 59 (2)) within six months for not having taken a lawful oath.

It is obvious all is not well with the Federal Constitution. The provisions of the Constitution of India ought to have been adopted. Article 79 of the Constitution of India states: "There shall be a Parliament for the Union which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People.". Article 85 (2) states: "The President may from time to time (a) prorogue the Houses or either House; (b) dissolve the House of the People." This article refers to the prorogation of the Houses of Parliament and the dissolution of the House of the People. This implies that Parliament is regarded as a permanent institution though they may be changes in the Houses.

In my view, a constitutional crisis of significant proportions has arisen. Without a King, no laws can be operative. Even a constitutional amendment to resolve the problem can be of no avail as the King must a#sent to such an amendment, and he does not exist.

I call upon the Attorney-General to respond to my arguments. In the public interest he should forthwith do so, particularly having regard to the provisions of article 55 (1) which states: "The Yang di-Pertuan Agung (King) shall from time to time summon Parliament and shall allow six months to elapse between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first meeting in the next session."

Dated this 22 day of December 1999.

Karpal Singh
National Deputy Chairman
Democratic Action Party

Link Reference : Proxy List Dec 1999