When Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman did not agree with Tunku Abdul Rahman’s decisions regarding various issues he resigned from the government.
Shahrir Samad had his differences with two Prime Ministers so he resigned when he could no longer agree with the Prime Minister and even refused to join the Cabinet when offered a post.
In more recent times Zaid Ibrahim resigned from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Cabinet when he did not agree with the ISA detentions of critics to the government.
In Malaysia such incidences are not that common but in other countries it is very normal for one to resign if one cannot agree with the Prime Minister’s policies or actions.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is currently under attack by no other than the person who forced the resignation of the previous Prime Minister. Dr Mahathir himself admitted this in his talk yesterday. And Dr Mahathir also said that Najib, too, should resign.
It is time that the Cabinet took a stand on this matter. The Cabinet is appointed by the Prime Minister and serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has the right to reshuffle his Cabinet, drop certain members of the Cabinet, and appoint new Cabinet members.
Therefore it is only proper that those Cabinet members who no longer have confidence in the Prime Minister resign from their posts so that the Prime Minister is free to appoint new members who share his vision and mission.
This is the spirit of a Westminster system of government where the Cabinet works with the Prime Minister or leaves. They cannot remain and at the same time be at odds with the Prime Minister.
The Cabinet members share a collective responsibility on all decisions made and they cannot later say that this was the Prime Minister’s decision and they did not agree to that decision. They have to show they do not agree by resigning, not by keeping quiet and then deny all liability later.