Palace refutes MB, maintains Sultan has executive powers

(The Malaysian Insider) – The Selangor palace has refuted Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s version of what transpired during his audience with the Sultan yesterday, in which the mentri besar said the state ruler had acknowledged he had no power over senior civil service appointments.

Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, who is private secretary to Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, insisted today that the Sultan held the executive power, and therefore had the right to decide on Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi’s appintment as the new Selangor state secretary.

“The Mentri Besar’s press statement yesterday on January 3 saying that that the Selangor Sultan was of the view that he did not have the power to accept or reject any candidates suggested by the Public Services Commission (PSC) is incorrect. What actually happened is that the names of potential candidates for the state secretary post had been presented to His Royal Highness by the Public Services Department which is part of the Public Services Commission.

“As the chief executive of the Selangor state government, the Sultan gave his blessings to one of the candidates. The PSD had after that agreed to the Sultan’s choice of candidate through a letter issued by the Public Services Department following Article 52 (1) and (2)a of the state constitution. This is a convention, a normal practice in Selangor,” Mohamad Munir said in a statement today.

The Selangor MB announced yesterday that Selangor will hold an emergency sitting of the state legislative assembly to change the state constitution to return to the mentri besar and Sultan the power to appoint the state secretary, state finance officer and state legal adviser.

Khalid had said that the Sultan was of the view that he (the Sultan) had no power to accept or reject candidates recommended by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for executive posts.

“This is because the laws had been amended back in 1993, during the constitutional crisis. The state laws were amended and centralised to cement the federal government’s hold on the state,” he had said.

Khalid said the Sultan had suggested that the Selangor state government hold talks with the PSC to find the best solution to the impasse, a point which was also refuted by the Sultan’s private secretary today.

“The Sultan had actually decreed that the Mentri Besar should have had discussions with on the choice candidate with PSC or PSD before the candidates had been presented to His Highness, and not after the Sultan had already given his blessings to the candidate chosen by the PSC (Mohd Khusrin.) MB’s plans to have talks now with PSC or PSD after the state secretary had already been chosen is unwise as it could damage the moral integrity of the selected candidate and could create an unhealthy environment with Selangor’s civil service,” said Mohamad Munir today.

He also said that the the Selangor Sultan had decreed that the state government present the plans for the amendments of the state constitution to the Sultan first before calling for an emergency state assembly sitting.

The country’s richest state has been in turmoil for the past week since the chief secretary to the government named Mohd Khusrin to the post to replace outgoing State Secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud, whose last day of office was on Friday.

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government has rejected Mohd Khusrin’s appointment and insists it has the right to name its own person for the job.

Mohamad Munir stressed that the loyalty oath ceremony between the Sultan and Mohd Khusrin will still take place this Thursday.

He stressed that it was not Mohd Khusrin’s officiation ceremony as state secretary but an “oath of loyalty” ceremony in front of the state Ruler.