LPHJ Changed, pre-DUN Presentation

Dewan Undangan Negeri Johor

The proposed Johor Housing and Property Enactment (LPHJ) 2014 expected to be tabled to the Johor State Assembly tomorrow is expected to see some changes, compared to the original draft.

NSt story:

08 June 2014| last updated at 04:50PM

Johor makes changes to Housing and Real Property Board enactment

By Rizalman Hammim
JOHOR BARU: The state government will make some changes to the Housing and Real Property Board enactment regarding the role of the Sultan of Johor in the board.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the changes includes the matter regarding the appointment of directors, which will now state that the Sultan will make the appointments with the advice of the menteri besar.

“Other clauses in the enactment that mention the (word) Sultan will be changed to the state authority,” said Khaled while winding up the Royal address at the state assembly.
Read more: Johor makes changes to Housing and Real Property Board enactment – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/johor-makes-changes-to-housing-and-real-property-board-enactment-1.613702#ixzz342QG3y53

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And The Star story:

Published: Sunday June 8, 2014 MYT 5:01:00 PM
Updated: Sunday June 8, 2014 MYT 5:11:38 PM

Johor housing Bill to be amended

BY DESIREE TRESA GASPER AND KATHLEEN ANN KILI

 

NUSAJAYA: The Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 will be amended to include a provision that the Sultan is to act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.

The amendment, which reads “role of the Johor Ruler is on the advice of the Mentri Besar”, was announced by Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the state assembly sitting here, Sunday.

Khaled said that other clauses in the Bill which mention the Johor Ruler would be changed to “state authorities”.

The Bill is expected to be tabled at the state assembly sitting on Monday.

It had been reported that the Bill would empower the Sultan to appoint JHRPB members, oversee its accounts and also dissolve the board.

It is understood that the Johor Ruler would also be able to determine the remuneration of board members, approve the appointment of a director and pass the estimated expenses for each following year before seeking the state government’s approval for the allocations.

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This came after Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak sounded out that the new law for Johor should be within the ambit of the Federal Constutution, where there is a clear separation of power between the Ruler and Executive.

Najib: Proposed Johor Act must be in line with Constitution principles

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7:
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the proposal by the Johor government to table a Bill to enact the formation of the Johor Housing and Property Board must bring advantages and benefits and protect the interests of all, especially the people.
The Prime Minister said the enactment must also be in line with the principles of the Federal Constitution which upheld the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy systems in the country.
Najib said he had stressed this to Datuk Seri Mohamed Khalid Nordin after he was informed by the Johor Menteri Besar on the state government’s plan to table the Bill.
“The Menteri Besar explained that the Bill is consistent with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.”
“He will also be fully responsible in managing the board,” Najib said in a statement to Bernama today.
Najib said Mohamed Khaled would ensure that the enactment fulfilled its objectives, one of which was to make available more affordable homes for the people of Johor.
It was reported that the Johor government planned to table the proposed Bill on Monday.
The Bill has received mixed reaction with some quarters claiming that, if passed, it will see the involvement of the Johor Sultan in state administration, which the Menteri Besar has since denied.

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It is uncommon for the Prime Minister to sound out for a new bill in Barisan Nasional controlled states outside Sabah and Sarawak. It is a subtle reminder that any new bill which gives a Ruler power that should remain with the Executive contravene the principle of power of separation as part of the Constitutional Monarchy.

Bar Council media statement on the LPHJ enactment:

PRESS RELEASE

Johore Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 Violates the Federal and Johore Constitutions

The Malaysian Bar has deep concerns regarding the proposed Johore Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 (“Johore Bill”).

The Johore Bill unnecessarily and improperly seeks to involve the Ruler in matters of executive government and administration.

The Johore Bill provides the Ruler with specific executive responsibilities and powers to:

(a) appoint four representatives to the Johore Housing and Real Property Board (“Board”) and revoke such appointments;
(b) determine the remuneration or allowances of all the members of the Board;
(c) approve the appointment of the Director to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Board;
(d) wind up and dissolve the Board; and
(e) approve the establishment of a corporation to maintain, develop or manage any housing plan, project scheme or industry.

The Johore Bill also provides that the “Ruler or the State Authority may at any time direct such person as he may appoint to make an investigation of the books, accounts and transactions of the Board”.

The Johore Bill further requires the Board to submit to the Ruler and the State Authority the annual budget, annual audited accounts and the annual report of the Board.

The Malaysian Bar is therefore unable to agree with the contention of the Menteri Besar of Johore, reported in the news media, that the Menteri Besar or the State Government of Johore would retain executive responsibility or power with respect to the matters set out in the Bill, as highlighted above.

Under our constitutional and legislative scheme, the term “State Authority” means either the State Government, or the Ruler acting on the advice of the State Government, in which case the Ruler is obliged to accept and act in accordance with such advice. An example of this can be found in the equivalent legislation in Selangor, namely the Selangor Housing and Real Property Board Enactment 2001. It is noteworthy that in the Selangor Enactment, there is no reference to the “Ruler”.

In providing for functions, responsibilities, duties and powers in the Johore Bill, the said Bill makes references to, amongst others, the “State Government”, the “State Authority” and the “Ruler”. Given that the Johore Bill makes reference to the “State Government”, “State Authority” and “Ruler” as three distinct entities, they cannot then mean the same thing in the Bill. Therefore, the provisions in the Johore Bill that accord to the Ruler specific executive responsibilities and powers mean that these responsibilities and powers are exercisable by the Ruler himself, without the need to be bound by, and to act upon, the advice of the State Government. This is in breach of the provisions of the Eighth Schedule to the Federal Constitution and Article 7 of the Constitution of Johore, which vouchsafe the concept of a constitutional monarchy.

The idea that a Ruler should have executive functions with respect to an agency or instrumentality of the State Government, such as the Board in this case, is a departure from the principles of constitutional monarchical government. This is not envisaged under the Federal Constitution and the Constitution of Johore. Under such a system of government, while powers and functions are carried out in the name of the head of state, the exercise of executive functions and powers must lie with the State Government that is democratically elected by the rakyat. Given this, save for limited specified matters in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution and matters such as Article 7 in the Constitution of Johore, which provides for the discretion of the Ruler to appoint the Menteri Besar or to withhold consent to a request to dissolve the State Assembly, the Ruler acts on the advice of the State Government.

The State Government of Johore has, by the proposed measures in the Johore Bill, burdened the Ruler with functions and responsibilities that are properly the duties and responsibilities of the State Government. They expose the Ruler to scrutiny and possible criticism and opprobrium. This affects the dignity and stature of the institution of the monarchy.

The Prime Minister is reported in the news media to have issued a timely reminder to the Menteri Besar of Johore to ensure that the Johore Bill is consistent with the Federal Constitution. We urge the Menteri Besar and State Government of Johore to heed the Prime Minister’s call.

The Malaysian Bar therefore calls upon the State Government of Johore to withdraw the Bill from consideration by the State Legislative Assembly, and to make appropriate amendments to the Johore Bill to remove all references therein to the Ruler.

Christopher Leong
President
Malaysian Bar Council

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The proposed LPHJ enactment drew a lot of criticism when the original draft provided specific and direct authorities to HRH Sultan Johor to determine LPHJ Board members and remuneration.LPHJ Board also would have authorities to inspect accounts.

This very much translated to HRH Sultan Johor meddling into land matters, especially in the decision making for property development proposals and deals.

This is against the principle of separation of power between HRH Rulers and the Executive, in the Constitutional Monarchy democratic system that Malaysia adopted, modeled after Westminister.

 

Shareholders of SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd.

Shareholders of SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd.

In the recent public outcry about YTL International Power Bhd. Managing Director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s faux pas about “Capital Cronysim”, inadvertently the deal on the RM3.5 billion new Pasir Gudang combine cycle power plant came into market information where Sultan Johor has direct interests via his company SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd.

The issue also now focused on the award of the project by Energy Commission (EC) to  SIPP Energy, without proper open tender. This is against EC’s own policy set in 2012.

Johor has came into a lot of attention, recently. Elusive one time celebrity blogger Raja Petra wrote about Johor would trigger a fresh round of Constitutional Crisis. Needless to say, a lot is at stake here.

Published in: on June 8, 2014 at 17:15  Comments (18)