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Dr M Apologises For Constitutional Change Removing Royal Assent for New Law

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PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has apologised for making amendments to the Federal Constitution which removes the requirement for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s assent before a new act of Parliament comes into force.

“I sincerely apologise for making the amendment as it is open to misinterpretation,” said the former prime minister.

“It would seem that because of the amendment, the new National Security Council (NSC) law has become operational even though the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has not signed it,” he said on his blog on Thursday.

Dr Mahathir said the amendment was not for all laws.

He clarified that the amendment did not invalidate the other powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which number more than thirty.

“Some laws passed by Parliament will still need the consent and signature of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“In fact there are more than thirty proceedings listed out in the Constitution that still need the Agong’s approval frequently without the advice of the Prime Minister,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said that among those that still needed the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was the declaration of a state of emergency.

He cited Article 150 of the Proclamation of Emergency that states that the powers “to proclaim an emergency solely rests with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and may not be challenged.”

He claimed that there was no mention that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could only act on the advice of the Prime Minister.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong can even promulgate an ordinance which shall have the same force as an Act of Parliament,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also claimed that the new NSC Act, that “gives” the prime minister power similar to that of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is derogatory to Article 38(4) which states “no law directly affecting the privileges, position, honours or dignities of the Rulers shall be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers”.

“Effectively the NSC had taken away the power and the right of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. For this to be done the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers has to be obtained,” he said, adding that Article 130 entitled the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to refer the question of the NSC Act’s legality to the Federal Court.


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