Agong election: Constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari should reread the Federal Constitution

TTF: Associate Prof Shamrahayu A. Aziz said yesterday that Section 4(2)(b) of the Third Schedule of the Federal Constitution states, that when “there is a change in the Ruler of a state, that state shall be transferred to the end of the list.”

The Section reads: 

The election (of the Agong) list in force at the first election shall be varied as follows:

(a) after each election any States preceding on the list the State whose Ruler was elected shall be transferred (in the order in which they are then on the list) to the end of the list, and the State whose Ruler was elected shall be omitted;

(b) whenever there is a change in the Ruler of a State then on the list, that State shall be transferred to the end of the list (and if on the same day there is a change in the Rulers of more than one such State, those States shall be so transferred in the order in which they are then on the list).

However, according to three constitutional experts TTF met today, the Schedule does not prohibit the Conference of Rulers from offering the Sultan of Pahang the office of Yang di-Pertuan Agong, provided that the ruler wins a five vote majority in an election process due to be held soon by the Conference of Rulers.

The process is provided for under Article 38(6)(a) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and will be held exclusive to the nine state rulers, meaning, the governors of Penang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak will not be involved.

A quick check by TTF revealed that Associate Prof Shamrahayu A. Aziz was spot on and absolutely clear with all these points.

Abdul Aziz Bari, on the other hand, is way off tangent and appears not to have understood the Federal Constitution of Malaysia well or what Shamrahayu meant to say (see news item below).

It is a wonder that they refer to him as a constitutional expert.



IPOH: Constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari has disputed the notion that if there is a change in the Ruler of a state, that Ruler shall be transferred to the end of the list for the election of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA).

He disagreed with Associate Prof Shamrahayu A. Aziz, who was reported to have said yesterday that Section 4(2)(b) of the Third Schedule of the Federal Constitution stated that when “there is a change in the Ruler of a state, that state shall be transferred to the end of the list”

“Why must the Sultan of Pahang go down the list just because he is the most junior?” asked Abdul Aziz, who is also a Perak state exco.

He said when interviewed by Malay Mail that Shamrahayu had overlooked what happened in 2002 when the Raja of Perlis became the Agong although he was not the most senior at that time.

“When the Sultan of Selangor died in 2002, the Raja of Perlis ascended the throne,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said currently, the appointment of YDPA was rotational.

“It does not matter if you are young or junior. As long as your term comes up, you are there,” he added.

Abdul Aziz warned against moving away from the tradition of following the rotation.

“That will be the end of the monarchy,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said when Shamrahayu interpreted the provision, she forgot that there was an idea behind it which is that the monarchy was there to serve a purpose.

“This is unlike the presidency. You are talking about a federation,” he added, noting that the provision cannot be interpreted in isolation.

He pointed out that in the first round of rotation, following Malaysia’s independence in 1957, the Negri Sembilan Ruler became the first YDPA followed by Selangor, Perlis, Terengganu, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, Johor and Perak, which reflected the original founding member states.

“During the second round of rotation, Negri Sembilan became the Agong followed by Selangor, Perlis, Terengganu, Kedah and Kelantan with next in line being Pahang,” he said.

Sultan Muhammad V stepped down as Agong on January 6, just two years and 24 days into his five-year term.

The Conference of Rulers will meet on Thursday to elect the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Source: The Malay Mail Online


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