Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as well as Pakatan Harapan (PH) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be released from the prison in June, PH has announced that Anwar will be the 8th prime minister (Tun Dr. Mahathir will only be the interim prime minister), but apart from having to wait patiently for five years, Anwar will also have to meet seven prerequisites before becoming the prime minister ahead of time as claimed by some quarters.
Nanyang Siang Pau reporters have interviewed with politicians, lawyers and current affair commentators on the question, and the answer is: Yes, but he must overcome many difficulties.
In summary, the seven difficulties include PH must win the general election, PKR must win the most number of seats in PH, to be pardoned by the king, to gain the support of a majority (simple majority) in the Parliament, to win in the parliamentary seat by-election to become a Member of Parliament, to reshuffle the Cabinet and to amend the Election Act etc.
Gan Ping Sieu: With royal pardon, Anwar may become prime minister early
MCA Shariah Law and Policy Implementation Special Task Force chairman Gan Ping Sieu said, assuming PH wins the power in the next general election, and Anwar intends to become the prime minister early, besides seeking royal pardon, he can also go to the Parliament to amend the law in order to shorten the time limit of contesting in a parliamentary seat.
“In the case of Anwar, he will be freed in June and cannot stand for election within five years (Article 48 of Federal Constitution), unless he is pardoned by the king; but assuming that Anwar is able to garner the support of majority to amend the law in the Parliament to shorten the time limit of contesting from five years to one year, then he may become the prime minister early.”
Must be an elected Member of Parliament
He told Nanyang Siang Pau in an interview that according to Article 43 of Federal Constitution, a person must be a Member of Parliament to be the prime minister, and before he becomes the prime minister he must be qualify to stand in the election.
“After fulfilling the above conditions, the person must be able to gain the support of a majority (simple majority) in the Parliament and elected as the prime minister before being appointed by the king.”
He said according to tradition, candidate nominated by the coalition of parties usually will be appointed by the king as the prime minister, and the government is subsequently established.
Chua Tian Chang: May not be easy to deal with as early election unprecedented
PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang did not rule out the possibility of the king allowing Anwar to stand for election earlier, but such practice is unprecedented.
“The head of State has the highest legislative, judicial and executive powers in nominal terms, therefore he has got the power to pardon Anwar’s sentence.”
He said a person in the prison can submit his name for pardon to be freed from imprisonment. But to request for exemption from prohibition against candidacy is unprecedented, and there’s no idea where to start with.
However, Chua Tian Chang opined that what the people are most concerned about is the good governance of the new government. At present, the most important thing is to ensure victory in the general election, whether to let Anwar be the prime minister is not the most important issue.
Anwar’s influence will not be weakened
He stressed that most importantly is to continue the reform agenda and to achieve the goal of reform. He also believed that even if Anwar is unable to become the prime minster five years after he is released from jail, his influence will not be weakened, and all PKR members will continue to support him.
Tang Ah Chai: In any case PH have to first win the general election
Current affairs commentator Tang Ah Chai said Anwar can become the prime minister through every avenue, but the prerequisite is PH must win in the 14th general election, and to convince the king to pardon Anwar.
He opined that Anwar has the chance to become prime minister, after being pardoned, Anwar can become the 8th prime minster through every avenue including to contest and win in the by-election, then reshuffle the Cabinet to enable him to assume the post.
“In accordance with the existing law, Anwar will be freed on June 8, but within five years (from 2018 to 2023), he is prohibited from contesting including by-election; if he cannot contest and win the parliamentary seat, he is unable to become the prime minister, thus he must seek for royal pardon.”
He stressed that Anwar must be pardoned by the king, and it is also the king’s power to appoint the prime minister.
“As the head of state cannot govern the country on his own, his majesty must act in accordance with the Article 43 of the Federal Constitution (privileged selection law) to appoint a prime minister to govern the country.”
He said the prerequisite for Anwar to seek pardon or to make Anwar the prime minister is that PH must win in the 14th general election.
The probability of pardon is higher if PH wins GE14
He said if PH wins the general election, the probability of Anwar being pardoned will be higher; otherwise, if Barisan Nasional continues to rule, then the probability will be greatly reduced.
He admitted that the possibility of royal pardon for Anwar is not high under the current situation, unless the king is prepared to split with the BN government.
“PH had taken the lead to announce Anwar as the 8th prime minister; it had also announced that if PH wins the general election, Tun Dr. Mahathir and Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah will be the prime minister and deputy prime minister, the consensus resolved the internal conflicts of the PH.”
He pointed out that the key to becoming prime minister will be whether the person is able to convince the public and lead the component parties as well as forming government. In this case, the announcement of Anwar being the candidate for the 8th prime minister will help PH to focus on the general election and win the battle.
Yong Kim Seng: Senator cannot become prime minister
Gerakan Youth Deputy Chief Andy Yong Kim Seng said in line with the constitutional and democratic system, the prime minister should be elected from the party which won the most number of seats, or else Anwar is unable to become the prime minister even if he wanted to.
On whether a Senator can become the prime minister, Yong Kim Seng ruled out the possibility, saying that the prerequisite to be a prime minister is to become a Member of Parliament and not Senator or any other official post.