Press reports flowing thick and fast detail “audiences” of politicians by the Agong. The ordinary Malaysian citizen could be forgiven for thinking that the enormously expensive palace occupied by whichever Ruler happens to be taking a turn in the office of Agong is the centre of political power in the country.
This is an illusion that political leaders of all parties should be at pains to dispel. The various powers given in the Constitution to the Agong, sweeping though a few are, do not position him as head of the country’s government. He is just the Head of State with a responsibility to conduct himself as such in an impartial manner.
Regrettably the current holder of this important office does not seem to conform to that principle. By appointing to the Prime Ministership a politician for whom none of his fellow members of the Assembly had voted in a consultation process carried out by the Agong himself he opened himself to accusations of partiality or ignorance. Both serious handicaps to a constitutional head of State.
More recently he has been seen to be conducting interviews with political leaders as though they are in fact, as opposed to theory, his ministers. It is impossible to so act without risking accusations of political partiality; something of which no constitutional monarch should ever allow himself to be accused.
Instead of this procession of bowers and scrapers what should, and must, happen is a sitting of the Assembly at which the actual Prime Minister can either prove his majority or go. About the outcome of that there is little doubt. Equally there is no need for the Assembly to be dormant during the Covid emergency. PN have amply demonstrated their incompetence in dealing with it and should be compelled to seek the confidence of the Assembly; or go.
In the latter instance the Agong can then exercise his sweeping constitutional powers and either ask opposition leaders to form a new administration or use the nuclear power afforded to him by the Constitution to dismiss the Assembly and call a general election.
The outcome of that would demonstrate clearly whether his judgement in appointing Mahiaddin was or was not a monumental error.