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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kit Siang: State secretary row violates spirit of Selangor constitution

December 30, 2010

Lim said Putrajaya should not have involved the Sultan in the appointment of the state secretary. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — The appointment of Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the Selangor state secretary without first consulting Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is a violation of the spirit of the state constitution, Lim Kit Siang claimed today.

The DAP parliamentary leader refuted today arguments by palace officials that there were no legal provisions which stated that Khalid’s consent was needed for the appointment, saying that the argument was “flimsy and unacceptable.”

“Going by this literal interpretation, Putrajaya should not have involved the Sultan in the appointment of the state secretary as there is equally no mention in the state constitution that the Sultan must first be informed of the appointment nor that any royal consent is needed,” said Lim in a statement.

The Ipoh Timur MP said that although there was no mention in the Selangor state constitution on the role of the MB in the appointment of the state secretary, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan should have been extra careful in appointing the “most unpopular officer” to work with the state Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government.

“The Chief Secretary, who has been delegated the constitutional task to make the appointment, should be mindful of the different political coalitions running the federal and Selangor state governments and the importance of ensuring an appointee who could work as a bridge-builder or at least not seen as inimical to the Selangor state government interests vis-à-vis the federal government,” said Lim.

He said the “constitutional convention” of consulting the MB on the appointment should have been observed, stressing that the “healthy growth” of federal-state relations could be well affected by these series of developments.

“Article 55 of the Selangor State Constitution on ‘Sultan to act on advice’ provides that the Sultan shall act in accordance with the advice of the State Executive Council except for specific instances — and the appointment of the state secretary is not one of the exceptional cases where the Sultan may act in his discretion.

“Sidek should remedy this violation of the spirit and letter of the state constitution in the appointment of the Selangor state secretary by carrying out a meaningful consultation process with the mentri besar on the appointment of the new state secretary and spare the country and people a constitutional crisis,” added Lim.

The Selangor government has insisted it has the final say in deciding the state secretary, claiming that there were no laws suggesting a deadline on the matter after palace officials said Khalid was late in making his choice.

Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has agreed with Putrajaya to appoint Mohd Khusrin as state secretary despite Khalid having his own list of names for the top civil service post in the country’s wealthiest state.

Selangor has been in turmoil since Mohd Khusrin was given the post by the federal government two days ago, followed by the Selangor Sultan duly blessing the choice. The state government has maintained that it has not finalised a candidate, saying Khalid has not been informed officially.

It is understood that the Selangor Sultan is currently away and will only be back on January 3, two days after Mohd Khusrin begins his duties as the newly-minted state secretary.

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