These relevant parts of the judgement of the Court of Appeal in the matter of Zambry v Nizar (the Perak Assembly case) make clear that the Agong has the power to dismiss a sitting Prime Minitser:
As Blackstone defined
…The medieval King was doth Head of the
Kingdom and feudal Lord. He had powers
accounted for by the need to preserve the realm
against external enemies and an undefined residual
power which he might use for the public good…”. Blackstone’s definition holds true
too in (Malaysia).
The nine Rulers in the Malay States are indigenous
Rulers and enjoyed their own prerogatives all along.....the traditional prerogatives of the Rulers remain
and are buttressed by the Constitution of the respective
States. In fact upon independence, our Constitution as drafted
under the Chairmanship of Lord Reid, preserved and indeed
enhanced the monarchy in Malaysia in several ways as seen
in its provisions.
What is rarely displayed however, is the fact that the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Rulers are seized with
prerogative privileges and residual rights and powers. Some
of which are expressed, others implied.
Unobtrusive as they may
seem they are in fact omnipresent and their exercise may
have far-reaching effect on the governance of the State.
It must be stressed that the Royal Prerogative,
discretionary and residual powers do not repose in the royal
personages in vain. It is best expressed by Viscount Radcliffe
in Burmah Oil Co Ltd v Lord Advocate  AC 75 page
113 where His Lordship observed:-
“… The essence of a prerogative power if one
follows Locke’s thought, is not merely to administer
the existing law – there is no need for any
prerogative to execute the law – but to act for the
public good where there is no law, or even to
dispense with or override the law where the ultimate
preservation of society is in question.”
And similarly in the Malaysian context, it was observed
by Lee Hun Hoe CJ (Borneo) in Government of Malaysia v
Mahan Singh  2 MLJ 155 that:-
“… The King is the first person in the nation –
being superior to both Houses in dignity and the
only branch of the Legislative that has a separate
existence and is capable of performing any act at a
time when Parliament is not in being.”
Following from that, it has to be said that, it is not at any
time or any situation that this discretionary or prerogative power can be invoked. The general acceptance is that it has
to be exercised judiciously.
It is clear that the Crown has a right and duty to protect
its realm and citizens in times of war and peace and can
invoke its prerogative to that end. That should never be in
The above analysis, handed down by Zainur Ali CA on behalf of the Court of Appeal, was upheld when the matter went on appeal to the Federal Court.