Stop playing on the issue of state appointees

By The Star

FROM all indications, the Selangor state government seems intent on amending the state constitution over the appointment of the state secretary, the state legal adviser and the state financial officer.

All this appears to have resulted from the Public Services Commission’s appointment of Datuk Mohamed Khusrin Munawi as state secretary. The state government objects to the choice, apparently because Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had reportedly not been consulted over it.

Why else object to Mohd Khusrin as state secretary? The state government has not brought any issues against him, while refusing to give him a chance to do his work unhindered.

Yet since the appointment, the state government wants to empower itself by making the choice of the three senior officials its own. It has campaigned for it by using the language of returning such authority “to the Sultan and the state”.

However, its motives may be questionable since the Mentri Besar would be managing mundane daily affairs while invoking the office of the Sultan who should remain above politics. Thus indirectly, the Sultan may be drawn into partisan politicking or be seen to do so.

Such underhand political manoeuvres designed to benefit any interested party must cease at once. It is improper, disres­pectful and wholly uncalled for.

If the state government is now acting out of spite over the perceived lack of prior consultation, it would be sheer pettiness most unbecoming of judicious governance. But might there be a hidden motive yet undeclared?

The Pakatan state government knows that calling for a special sitting of the state legislative assembly tomorrow to decide on amending the constitution is a non-starter. Amendments require a two-thirds majority of the assembly, where Pakatan has only 35 of the 56 seats.

Pakatan is short of two seats – unless it feels that invoking the Ruler’s office is enough to pressure two or more assemblymen to vote in its favour.

It would then be playing on public sympathy and support for the Ruler. Precisely because the Sultan is above politics, he merits public favour that transcends petty partisanship.

We hope that the state government’s action is not merely cynical political manipulation, but who can be certain? Again, it would be so unbecoming of judicious governance.