The Round Table Conference, which will focus on the constitutionality of the tenth Parliamentary meetings, will be opened by former Lord President, Tun Mohamed Suffian while former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas will lead off the Round Table discussions which would be attended by distinguished Malaysian jurists, including former Bar Council President, Zainur Zakaria, HAKAM President, Ramdas Tikamdas, academician Dr. Abdul Aziz Bari and leading constitutitional lawyers in the country, Karpal Singh and Christopher Fernando. The Round Table conference would be chaired by former DAP MP for Teluk Intan, M. Kula Segaran.
Representatives of NGOs and the civil society, academicians and leading legal practitioners will attend the Round Table Conference. The Speaker of Parliament, Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail has also been invited to take part in the Round Table deliberations.
It is most unfortunate that Malaysia ended the previous millennium not with any strengthening of the fundamental constitutional values to contribute to the rule of law, but a greater blow to constitutionalism with the statutory rape of the Constitution in the unconstitutional convening of the new tenth Parliament.
Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had admitted that when the Yang di Pertuan Agong convened the first meeting of the new Tenth Parliament on 20th December 1999, the new Cabinet after the tenth general election had not been formed. However, he argued that as caretaker Prime Minister he had the power to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to convene the new tenth Parliament.
In the 1999 general election, PAS captured the Terengganu state government. Would the defeated caretaker Terengganu Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad have the powers to advise the Sultan of Terengganu on the date the new Terengganu State Assembly was to be convened?
The answer must be in the negative, putting Malaysia in the ridiculous situation of having a new Parliament which had been convened unconstitutionally where the constitutional provision that the Yang di Pertuan Agong summons Parliament on the advice of the Cabinet had not been complied with.
It is hoped that this 90-page publication, together with the Round Table Conference on "Constitution, Parliament and Rule of Law" tomorrow would spark off greater national awareness as well as initiate a new national movement for constitutionalism to uphold parliamentary democracy and the rule of law in Malaysia in the new millennium.