Wednesday, March 9, 2016

MPs fear the whip, tough to oust Najib, says law expert

It will be an uphill task to remove Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister in a parliamentary democracy that practises the whip system, a law expert says. Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said that was the problem and was common in all parliaments modelled after the British parliament or Westminster system. "Ideally the MPs are beholden to the voters who put them in the House but sadly they have to vote in accordance with what their whips say," Aziz told The Malaysian Insider. A party whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. A whip acts as a party's "enforcer", who typically offers inducements and threatens party members to ensure they vote according to party policy. A whip's role is also to ensure that elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. Aziz (pic, right) was responding to comments from former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, that only the 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat could remove Najib  despite the signing of the "Citizens' Declaration" last week. He said under Malaysia's parliamentary system, Najib's fate would be sealed should a minimum 112 MPs reject the incumbent prime minsiter. "If that happens, he must tender his resignation together with the Cabinet. The Agong would have a duty to appoint a new prime minister to carry on with the running of the country." Abu Talib told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that the real power to remove Najib rested on the 222 MPs – 135 from the ruling Barisan Nasional and 87 from the opposition. He said there Najib could be removed either by a no-confidence vote when Parliament is in session, or by making a representation to the king when the Dewan Rakyat was not meeting. Alternatively, the prime minister could step down from office voluntarily, he added. He said the public, including the voters, could not do much at the moment except to offer support to the core group calling for Najib's removal, adding that they could only have a direct say on the matter through the ballot box at the general election. Until then, Abu Talib said voters could meet their MPs to complain about the prime minister, although this had its limitations. "They can express their opinions to their elected representatives but the question is whether the MPs will listen," he added. Najib is being pressured to leave over allegations linked to the RM2.6 billion "donation", and the RM42 million which flowed into his personal bank accounts. On January 26, A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said there would be no charges against Najib, citing lack of evidence. – March 10, 2016.]]>

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