Not In Constitution, But Sultan Can Dismiss MB

(Bernama) — The Sultan of Perak has the power to dismiss his Menteri Besar even though the latter refuses to tender his resignation after being decreed to do so, a constitutional law expert said.

However, the power to do so is not within the provision of the Perak constitution but from the Interpretation Act which says the power to appoint also includes the power to remove, said Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

"Article 16 Clause 7 of the Perak constitution says a member of the executive council other than the MB (Menteri Besar) holds the office at the pleasure of the Sultan. In other words, the MB cannot be dismissed.

"But Article 16 Clause 6 says if he loses the confidence (of the majority) he must resign. So the gray area is what happens if he doesn't resign," he said when contacted by Bernama on Thursday.

He said the two separate provisions seemed to contradict, so one had to look beyond the Perak constitution and into the Interpretation Act, which states the power to appoint includes the power to remove.

"In a situation where the person (MB) doesn't want to step down despite having lost (the support of the majority), I think the Sultan will have the power to remove.

"I'm sure he (the Sultan) doesn't relish (having to remove the MB) but the whole world is watching. The government is collapsing not due to popular mandate but due to defections.

"I'm sure Tuanku is very pained by all this, but he is in a dilemma, he has to have a government but there is an obvious stalemate," he said.

Prof Shad Saleem said he personally favoured a dissolution to let the people decide but the move would involve a substantial amount of expenditure and disruption at the expense of the people, which he felt the Sultan had undoubtedly taken into account when making his decision.

He was commenting on Perak MB Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's refusal to resign from his post even after being decreed to do so immediately by Sultan Azlan Shah.

A statement from the Sultan of Perak's office said that if Mohammad Nizar does not resign his post as Perak Menteri Besar together with the members of the state executive council, the posts of Menteri Besar and state executive councillors would be considered vacant.

However, Prof Shad Saleem said that Mohammad Nizar's defiance was not a punishable offence.