KUALA KANGSAR: May 4, 2008 By CHAN LI LEEN and FLORENCE A. SAMY
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin should be careful in his actions, especially when dealing with matters concerning Islam and Malay custom.
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 Islam and Malay custom remain within the purview and control of the Sultan,” Nazri told reporters after closing a health programme in Sauk near here yesterday.
He was commenting on Nizar's decision to sack Perak Religious Department (Jaip) director Datuk Jamry Sury only to be ordered by Raja Muda Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, acting on behalf of Sultan Azlan Shah, to reinstate Jamry with immediate effect.
The royal order came just 72 hours after Jamry was sent packing for supposedly not cooperating with the state government.
“Even if it had nothing to do with religion and Malay custom, the procedure was incorrect as anyone accused of wrongdoing must first be given the right to defend and explain himself. This is a rule of natural justice that the Sultan has stressed time and again,” said Nazri.
Asked whether the directive to reinstate Jamry was a public reprimand, he replied: “In what other way could the Sultan ask him to retract it? The matter had been publicised and the whole nation knew about it.”
Umno Information chief and former Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib advised Pakatan Rakyat leaders not to be overzealous or haughty when making decisions in the five states controlled by them.
“You can't just do as you like when you are running the government. It is not easy to rule but Umno and Barisan Nasional have done it peacefully over the last 50 years,” he told reporters after appearing as a guest on Channel 9's Nasi Lemak Kopi O show.
“When I was mentri besar for 11 years, I never chased radio stations from government buildings or told people to leave within 24 hours.”
Welcoming the palace order to reinstate Jamry, Pangkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said Nizar should not have been so hasty.
“Where is the fairness when a government officer was degraded in such a manner and was not given the opportunity to defend himself?” he asked.
Perak Umno Youth chief Zainol Fadzi Paharudin said the palace’s intervention had allayed the people's anxiety.
“The Mentri Besar should put the people’s interest first and maintain a good relationship with the palace,” he said.