MB’s consent not needed in state secretary’s appointment

(NST) – The appointment of Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) director Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as the new state secretary is final and cannot be disputed.

The Sultan of Selangor’s private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, said there was no mention in the state constitution that the menteri besar must first be informed of the list of candidates for the post, nor that his consent was needed.

“This means that it is at the discretion of the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, as the Public Service Department head, to select qualified candidates and seek the consent of the sultan.

“There is no mention in the state constitution that there must be consent from the menteri besar for the appointment of a state secretary.” He added that the chief secretary to the government had the power to choose the state’s three top civil servants — the state legal adviser, the state financial officer and the state secretary — before seeking the sultan’s consent.

Munir also said the state government was late in sending its list of candidates for the state’s top civil servant post to the palace.

He said Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim submitted the names of three candidates in a letter dated Dec 7, but Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah gave his consent on the appointment of Khusrin on Dec 10, believed to be before the letter bearing the state’s recommendation, reached the palace.

On Khalid’s plan to seek an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin today, Munir said it would not be possible as the sultan was now on vacation and would return only on Jan 3.

Munir was commenting on the disputed appointment of Khusrin, who is said to be unpopular with the Pakatan Rakyat state government due to his rigid stance on several issues, which were viewed as directly opposing the state gover nment.

Khusrin, in his capacity as Jais director, had overseen the department’s action against former Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin for conducting religious teachings without proper authorisation despite strong support for the latter from many Pakatan leaders.

Jais, under Khusrin, had also been very vocal against Serdang member of parliament Teo Nie Ching for speaking in a surau.

Meanwhile, former menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo said according to Chapter 3 of Executive Power Article 52 of the state constitution 1959, the state secretary had to be appointed by the chief secretary to the government.

“The menteri besar has no power to appoint the state secretary. It is just that the newly elected state secretary has to take an oath before the menteri besar to safeguard state government secrets.” Yesterday, it was reported that the state government claimed the appointment of a new state secretary had not yet been finalised, although Sidek had announced it.

It was also reported that Khalid was not officially informed of the appointments by Sidek.

Sidek, in a press statement, said Khusrin, 54, would take over from Datuk Ramli Mahmud, 56, on Saturday.

Ramli’s service ends on Friday.

The post of Jais director, vacated by Khusrin, will be filled by Sabak Bernam district officer Marzuki Hussin, 56, also on Saturday. Both appointments have received the consent of the Sultan of Selangor.