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10 APRIL 2024

Friday, December 31, 2010

Selangor row heading for constitutional impasse

Karpal has been asked to help on behalf of the MB. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The controversial appointment of Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the Selangor state secretary may lead to a constitutional crisis if the Selangor Sultan carries out a planned swearing-in ceremony for the post on January 6.

Constitutional experts argued today that the ceremony, scheduled for next Thursday, was “unlawful” as the state constitution dictates that the oath of office has to be done in front of the Selangor mentri besar, and not the Selangor Sultan.

The Selangor government has insisted it has the final say in deciding the state secretary, after the Selangor Sultan 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.

It is understood however that outgoing state secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud’s official oath of office was done in the presence of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah back in March 2006, during the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) Selangor government.

“The Sultan has to seek legal advice from the state legal adviser before proceeding with this ceremony. On a matter like this, the Sultan acts on executive advice, His Highness cannot do it on his own. The concern is that if the ceremony is carried out, it can be declared null and void by a court of law. This is unconstitutional, as it is not within the provisions of the state constitution. The state constitution does not allow for this.

“It could lead into a constitutional crisis because it is not in line with the state constitution... but I hope this does not happen, that is why the Sultan must be extra careful before going through with this,” Karpal Singh told The Malaysian Insider.

The veteran lawyer revealed that he had been asked by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to look into the legal aspects of the matter personally.

“I am actually looking at the laws right now... I have been asked to help on behalf of the MB,” said the DAP lawmaker.

“The act of the Sultan can be taken up in a court of law,” added Karpal.

Article 52 (4) of the Selangor state constitution stipulates that the state secretary “shall take and subscribe in the presence of the Mentri Besar the following oath of secrecy.” There is no mention that the state secretary’s oath of office has to be done in the presence of the Sultan.

Aziz claimed that the swearing-in ceremony in front of the Selangor Sultan was a ‘new practice’. — File pic
Constitutional expert Prof A. Aziz Bari claimed that the swearing-in ceremony of the state secretary in front of the Selangor Sultan was a “new practice,” saying that he was not aware that such a ceremony existed.

“As far as I know this is the first time such a ceremony is being held, even though I feel that it is only an official function and such a ceremony is not needed,” he toldThe Malaysian Insider.

The law expert echoed Karpal’s stand on the matter, saying that there was nothing in the state constitution which supported the basis for the planned ceremony.

“I don’t think this logic can be used, it is like a state assembly Speaker not having the power to take action against state lawmakers but the Parliament Speaker being able to do otherwise,” said Aziz.

The political secretary to the Selangor MB, Faekah Husin, confirmed today that the MB’s office received invitation letters for the January 6 ceremony three days ago.

Khalid has himself indicated that he will not accept Mohd Khusrin as Selangor’s new state secretary.

During a solat hajat function last night at his residence in Shah Alam, the Selangor MB had stressed that he still had the option to not accept Mohd Khusrin by not agreeing to him taking the oath of secrecy.

“If Mohd Khusrin does not take the oath of secrecy in front of the MB, then he cannot perform his duties as state secretary fully. He cannot attend state exco meetings or be privy to state secrets. Sure he will be state secretary in name but not by duty. MB is implying that this is the option Selangor has, to not allow the state secretary to angkat sumpah (take the oath),” Khalid Samad told The Malaysian Insider.

The Shah Alam MP was among those present during Khalid’s function last night, where the Selangor MB made his first public statement on the matter.

The Chief Secretary to the Government announced on Monday Mohd Khusrin’s promotion to replace Ramli, who leaves on December 31. - Malaysian Insider

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