(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has not addressed the constitutional issue raised by DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh in Parliament yesterday before the delivery of the 1999 Budget although he subsequently told the press that his appointment as First Finance Minister had been gazetted on Sept. 5 and signed by the Chief Secretary to the Government.
Nobody disputes the prerogative of the Prime Minister to appoint or terminate the appointment of any Cabinet Minister, but such appointment or termination must be done in accordance with the Constitution if it is to be constitutionally proper and valid.
Article 43(5) is very clear that although it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to decide on his Cabinet composition, all Cabinet appointments or revocations must be made by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Article 43(5) reads: "Subject to Clause (4), Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di Pertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any Minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister but any Minister may resign his office."
As Anwar had not resigned from the Cabinet voluntarily, his termination as Finance Minister can only be valid and constitutional if the Yang di Pertuan Agong had revoked his Cabinet appointment on the advice of the Prime Minister.
As the initial announcement of the sacking of Anwar as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on Sept. 2, as well as the Prime Ministerís explanation inside and outside Parliament yesterday made it very clear that the Yang di Pertuan had merely been advised of the Prime Ministerís sacking of Anwar and that the Yang di Pertuan Agong had not revoked Anwarís appointment as Finance Minister on the advice of the Prime Minister, there is a clearly a serious constitutional issue as to whether Anwar is still at present Finance Minister.
The Yang di Pertuan Agong should invoke Article 130 and refer to the Federal Court for its opinion as to whether Anwar Ibrahim is still Finance Minister as there has been no revocation of his appointment in accordance with Article 43(5) the Constitution.
Article 130 of the Constitution states: "The Yang di Pertuan Agong may refer to the Federal Court for its opinion any question as to the effect of any provision of this Constitution which has arisen or appears to him likely to arise, and the Federal Court shall pronounce in open court its opinion on any question so referred to it."