Speakers' Corner: Occasional contributions from readers, which do not necessarily reflect the views of Sarawak Report but may be published at the discretion of the site.


Press reports quote the Sultan of Selangor as saying that the King had used his discretion in the matter of appointing a new Prime Minister “as provided for by the law”.  It is not clear if this Ruler has any legal qualifications but in any case he is quite wrong in what he said.

It is correct that the “law”, that is the Constitution, defines the role of the King in appointing a Prime Minister though it does not dictate the exact manner in which he conducts his search leaving it to his opinion as to who, if anyone, can command a majority in the Assembly.  However the wording leaves no doubt as to his responsibility in establishing who DOES  command such a majority.

In this instant case the King chose to make his enquiries by way of a head count in one on one interviews with all  the Assembly members: a process that established that Anwar Ibrahim had a large majority supporting him. The King then, apparently, disregarded the result of his own enquiries and appointed Muyhiddin, who enjoyed very little support for the post. So far he has not chosen to explain his decision to ignore the Constitution.  A delusion that the “divine right of Kings” is alive and well in twenty first century Malaysia?

Whatever his reasoning may be he owes it to the people of Malaysia, who pay for the institution, to offer an explanation. Continued failure to do so is certain to be interpreted by the voters that he thinks that the provisions of the Constitution do not apply to him or that he can disregard them at will. That would not just be a monumental error. It would put the institution of royalty in Malaysia at risk The Rulers do not enjoy their positions by reason of the depredations of their ancestors nor are they exempt from Malaysian law. They would be sensible to realise and acknowledge that.

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