KUALA KANGSAR: May 3, 2008 By CHAN LI LEEN
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin should be careful in his actions especially in matters concerning religion and Malay customs.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said Nizar should be mindful of the status and stature of the Sultan.
"Ours is a constitutional monarchy but that does not mean that the Sultan is powerless.
"All questions pertaining to the Islam religion and Malay customs remain within the purview and control of the Sultan," Nazri told reporters Saturday after closing a health programme in Sauk, near here.
He was commenting on Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah ordering Nizar to reinstate Datuk Jamry Sury as Perak Religious Department (JAIP) director with immediate effect.
The royal order came just 72 hours after Jamry was sent packing for supposedly not cooperating with the coalition state government.
"The Mentri Besar first needs to obtain consent from the Sultan before any action is taken concerning the Islam religion and Malay customs.
"This is not new but something we have followed since the time when we were under British rule," he said, adding that perhaps Nizar was new as a Mentri Besar and did not understand conventions.
Noting that Sultan Azlan Shah had been right in getting Nizar to retract the sacking, Nazri added:
"Even if it has nothing to do with religion and Malay customs, the procedure had been incorrect as rules require anyone accused of wrongdoing be first given the right to defend and explain himself.
"This is the rule of natural justice that the Sultan has stressed time and again, that an individual be given the chance to defend him or herself before being punished."
To a question, Nazri said he did not think the order to Nizar to reinstate Jamry had been a public reprimand by the Sultan.
"In what other ways can the Sultan ask him to retract it?
"The matter has been publicised and the whole nation knows about this.
"So which other way can the Sultan take action without people thinking it is a reprimand?" he asked.
Nazri added that Sultan Azlan Shah was merely exercising his rights according to convention and under the Perak Constitution