What a constitutional farce - Paul Low and Abdul Wahid Omar not legally Ministers and Waytha, Loga and Ahmad Bashah not legally Deputy Ministers as they have not been sworn in as Senators

It is neither a good omen nor a good start for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s post-13GE Cabinet.

Already Najib’s new Cabinet labours under a cloud of legitimacy for the simple reason that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Prime Ministership is under a cloud of legitimacy - not only because Najib and Barisan Nasional got 47% popular vote as compared to Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat’s 51% popular vote, but also because the 13GE was the most unfair and dirtiest general elections in the nation’s history.

If the 13GE had been clean, free and fair, with a level playing field for both coalitions, Anwar and PR would not only have an increased popular vote over 60 per cent or even exceeding 65 per cent, but would also have won a majority of the 222 parliamentary seats in the country.

Now, Najib’s post-13GE Cabinet has also become a farce and even a joke as it has two illegal Ministers and three illegal Deputy Ministers although they have gone through an unlawful oath-taking ceremony before the Yang di Pertuan Agong yesterday.

It is sad and shocking that the Prime Minister’s Department and the various government departments involved have become so careless, negligent and remiss that the fullest compliance with the proper laws, regulations, proprieties and protocols have been ignored or even violated – which should never have happened in a 56-year-old parliamentary democracy under six Prime Ministers.

Even the Transparency International-Malaysia Election Integrity Pledge signed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Feb. 20 to comply and observe four principles of good governance had been disregarded, the four principles being:

  • Truth, integrity, ethical conduct and accountability, including not accepting or giving bribes or being involved in corrupt practices in any way;

  • Upholding and giving priority to the interests of the rakyat as a whole;

  • Good governance and transparency; and

  • Compliance with all the applicable laws and regulations of Malaysia.

It cannot be more ironical that Paul Low, President of TI-M who witnessed Najib’s signing of the Election Integrity Pledge is himself party to the violation of the Pledge on his appointment as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Yesterday, after the swearing-in ceremony for Ministers and Deputy Ministers before the Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah at Istana Negara, Najib convened a two-hour Cabinet session at the Cabinet Room in Putrajaya.

However, a dark cloud hanged over both proceedings – as up to the present moment, Datuk Paul Low and Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar (both Prime Minister’s Department) are not legally Ministers and Waytha Moorthy (PM’s Office) , Dr. J. Loga Bala Mohan (Federal Territories) and Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah (Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism) are not legally Deputy Ministers as they have not been sworn in as Senators.

Was the two-hour first Cabinet meeting yesterday tainted by illegality because of the attendance of two illegal Ministers, Paul Low and Abdul Wahid.

Today, Paul Low is already giving interviews as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, which he is not entitled to, as his Ministerial appointment can only take effect when he is sworn in as Senator - which is very clear from Article 43 (1) (b) in the case of Ministers and Article 43A(1) in the case of Deputy Ministers.

I am given to understand that up to now, there has been no swearing in of the five for them to take up the two Ministerial and three Deputy Ministerial appointments.

Is there going to be a “rushed” midnight swearing-in of the five as Senators?

Najib should explain how such a glaring breach of the Constitution and the law as well as causing embarrassment to the Yang di Pertuan Agong in producing such a farce of Cabinet-making could happen.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah