JOHOR BAHRU: The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, today called for an amendment to the Federal Constitution to restore the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Rulers to examine and approve bills.

He said this was necessary because it was not appropriate for these powers to be restricted or eliminated.

Sultan Ibrahim said the existing legislation just regarded the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or Rulers as a rubber stamp to affix the seal to any Bill approved by Parliament or a State Legislative Assembly.

“I know that this is true at the federal level and in several states, but not in Johor. I hope this matter can be rectified,” he said when opening the Conference of Parliamentary and State Assembly Speakers of Malaysia, here.

The Sultan made reference to Article 40 (1A) and Article 66 (4A) of the Federal Constitution.

Article 40 (1A) states: “In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to act in accordance with advice, on advice, or after considering advice, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall accept and act in accordance with such advice.”

Article 66 (4A) states: “If a Bill is not assented to by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong within the time specified in Clause (4), it shall become law at the expiration of the time specified in that Clause in the like manner as if he had assented thereto.”

In May 1994, 44 points, including three schedules, in the Federal Constitution were amended by way of a bill tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by then Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

The Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, also attended the opening of today’s event.

Also present were Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Dewan Negara President S.A. Vigneswaran, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and Johor State Secretary Ismail Karim.

Sultan Ibrahim said a bill passed by the state assembly can only take effect after it is approved by the Ruler and, as such, it is inevitable that the relationship among the Rulers, the Legislature and the Executive are complementary to one another in the formation of an efficient and effective state government administration.

He said the role of the Ruler in the affairs of the state is also important besides the roles of the Executive and the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Sultan added that the Speaker must also have in-depth knowledge of the Federal Constitution and the state constitutions and not just the standing orders.

Although the speakers have similar roles and responsibilities, they face varying environments and different elected representatives, he said.

The ruler said it was not an easy task for the speakers to manage parliament or state assembly proceedings because this is not specified in detail in the Federal Constitution or state constitutions.

He expressed his appreciation to Parliament for having selected Johor to host the conference.

Source – BERNAMA