by Raevathi Supramaniam

Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Hj Shad Saleem Faruqi was quoted in The Malaysian Insight on 29 July 2021

YANG di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah must consent to the government’s decision to revoke the emergency and its ordinances, constitutional expert Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi said.

He said Article 150(1) of the federal constitution clearly states the king acts on the advice of the prime minister but ultimately, his seal and signature is needed.

“The ordinances that were issued also required the seal and signature of the king, and therefore any revocation would require the same,” Saleem said.

He was commenting on the announcement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Takiyuddin Hassan that the government had decided not to advise the king to extend the emergency beyond August 1, while revoking all six emergency ordinances.

Takiyuddin informed Parliament on Monday that the decision had been made, effective July 21, supposedly in accordance with Article 150 (3) of the federal constitution.

Article 150(3) provides that any ordinance promulgated during the emergency shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and, if not sooner revoked, shall cease to have effect if resolutions are passed by both Houses annulling such proclamation or ordinance.

His announcement raised consternation among MPs, with many questioning whether the decision had the king’s consent. Takiyuddin deflected questions, saying he would answer them on Monday August 2.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs have asked that Takiyuddin be referred to the Committee of Privileges for misleading Parliament.

A check on the website of the Attorney-General’s Chambers showed that no new gazette had been published, while the government has not provided any time to debate the emergency or ordinances.

Shad was speaking at the Tun Hussein Onn Chair Lecture Series organised by Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), where he also touched on constitutional literacy, or rather the lack thereof among Malaysians.

“We should improve constitutional literacy among Malaysians as knowledge of the constitution is a prerequisite to good citizenship and to moderate extremism,” he said.

He added that the constitution should be taught in secondary schools, and universities and short courses must be provided for civil servants and parliamentarians for them to get a better grasp of it.

“The general lack of constitutional literacy and patriotism within the population and administrative elites in many areas – politics and administrative policies – have trumped the constitution.”

Shad, who has been writing articles on constitutional matters over the past 30 years, said most of his academic peers look down upon having their work published in local news.

“They ask me why I do not publish my writings in the Harvard Law Review. My aim is to improve (constitutional) literacy, to take it to as many homes as possible. The rakyat do not read the Harvard Law Review.”

This article first appeared in the Malaysian Insight on 29 July 2021.

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