May 6, 2009 By DHARMENDER SINGH
PUTRAJAYA: The state’s ruler cannot remove the head of government in Perak if provisions under the state constitution are the same as those under the Federal Constitution, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said the Federal Constitution stated clearly that the monarch could only decide on whether or not to appoint an individual as the prime minister but did not have the power to remove the premier.
The prime minister can only be removed through a vote of no confidence in Parliament.
“I think the provisions in the Federal Constitution should apply to Perak but I do not know (the Perak state constitution) and if Perak is different then I stand corrected,” he told a press conference after delivering his keynote address on The Role of the Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and Constitutional Monarchy at the ninth Perdana Discourse Series here Wednesday.
Asked if he thought there had been any abuse of the system in the removal of former Perak mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, he said the matter had been referred to the courts, and the courts should be allowed to decide.
Dr Mahathir said he also felt that Barisan Nasional had rushed into taking over the Perak state government when it should have taken the time to consider the decision properly before acting.
“They may have been doing the right thing but it was still a little bit hasty and when we are in too much of a hurry we always make mistakes. In any situation, always give yourself time to think,” he said.
On whether fresh elections should be held to allow the people to decide on the government in Perak, he said, it was not a matter for him to decide and people would have the chance to make the decision whenever elections were held.
“They (voters) can also sell their votes for only RM200 but they should remember that they are betraying their country and the future of their children and grandchildren,” he said.
On whether some civil servants had also overstepped their bounds when making decisions related to the state government, he said he was not sure if it were the civil servants or the legislative body that made the decisions.
The civil servants, he said, could have been just executing orders given to them.
However, Dr Mahathir also hit out at blogs that attacked the Sultan of Perak. He said that had been no abuse of power.
It was the former premier who clipped the powers of the royals during his tenure, with amendments to the Constitution that removed their immunity to being sued in their personal capacity.
“Having made the law, it is easy for people to blame the chap who made the law (allowing rulers to be sued), but the law was not made to sue the Sultan politically,” he said.