Dr Mahathir: No return to absolute monarchy

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - There are no plans to return power to the King to reject laws passed by Parliament, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"We are a democratic nation, where the voice of the people, who decides everything.

"Thus, we have agreed to give the King his position, and the King is aware of the laws passed by the people in both Houses in Parliament.

"If the King is given absolute power to reject laws, it would mean a loss of the peoples' power, and we are (then) no more a democracy but an absolute monarchy," he said when replying a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-Santubong) in Parliament today (Aug 14).

Dr Wan Junaidi wanted to know if there would be a return to the situation before 1994, when amendments to the Federal Constitution took away the King's power to reject a bill passed by both Houses in Parliament.

Dr Wan Junaidi said the constitutional amendments eroded the institution of Parliament of which the King was a part.

Dr Mahathir informed lawmakers that the constitutional amendments made in 1983, 1984 and 1994 were not aimed at eroding the special position of the Rulers but to ensure that bills passed by both Houses in Parliament became law as soon as possible.

"The amendments should not be viewed as inappropriate or usurping the dignity of the Rulers, but to uphold the sovereignty of the people and authority of the legislature which represents the voice of the people," he said.

Following the amendments, he said, a Bill would be deemed passed after 30 days, irrespective of whether royal assent was given by the King.

Dr Mahathir said this when responding to a question by Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kuala Krau).

He also said the Government would review the validity of the National Security Council Act passed in 2015 if the need arose.

According to Dr Mahathir, the Act gave power to the Government to declare an emergency, although such power was vested in the King.