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Court: Anwar's sacking from cabinet posts is valid
PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today ruled that the 1998 dismissal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from his Cabinet posts by then premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was constitutional.
A three-judge bench, led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, dismissed Anwar's appeal and said his dismissal as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on Sept 2,1998 was made in line with the Federal Constitution and valid under the law.
The Federal Court was asked to determine two questions of law, namely whether Anwar's sacking was constitutional or not, and whether Dr Mahathir could sack his deputy, without first advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
"There is no provision in law that the appointment and revocation of the appellant must be conveyed to him personally by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," Alauddin said.
In delivering the judgement, Alauddin said the Agong is a constitutional monarch and has very little role in appointing ministers and the power lies with the prime minister.
"If the prime minister has decided on a particular matter, he should convey it to the Agong and the Agong cannot say otherwise... reference to the Agong is only a formality.
"We must say that we have utmost respect for the High Court and Court of Appeal that the judges were correct and that as a constitutional monarch the Agong must act on advice of the prime minister."
Alauddin said that in this particular case the court had no doubts that Dr Mahathir had conveyed his decision to revoke Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister to the Agong and the Agong had accepted the decision.
Anwar's appointment came after the 1995 general elections and Dr Mahahtir had sent a letter revoking the former as deputy prime minister on Sept 2, 1998 and in the same letter it was stated that the revocation had been conveyed to the Agong.
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader had earlier sought an order from the court to declare that his dismissal as deputy prime minister and finance minister by Dr Mahathir as unlawful and he had sought compensation in lieu of reinstatement.
The High Court had on Dec 23, 1998, dismissed Anwar's suit against Dr Mahathir and the government, to summarily strike out his application for an order to declare Dr Mahathir's decision to dismiss him from the Cabinet posts on Sept 2, 1998 as unlawful and null and void.
The Court of Appeal had later held that Anwar's sacking from the Cabinet posts was lawfully executed by Dr Mahathir since the power to appoint and dismiss ministers lay with the prime minister.
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