BN allows Rulers absolute powers of appointment, says Noh Omar

By Bo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Jan 25 — Datuk Seri Noh Omar claimed today that the Barisan Nasional (BN) gives the Malay Rulers absolute powers of appointment by convention, despite the 1993 amendments.

The Selangor Umno deputy chairman said the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government’s failed attempt to amend the Selangor constitution yesterday was aimed at returning the power of appointment of the state’s top civil servants to the mentri besar and not the monarchy.

“By convention, we (Barisan Nasional) give the Sultan absolute power,” Noh (picture) told reporters today.

“In the present state constitution, it does not say that appointments must get the Sultan’s consent or the mentri besar’s consent. But if the federal Public Service Commission (PSC) does not get the Sultan’s consent, they cannot appoint (the state secretary),” he added.

The Selangor state government failed to get the two-thirds majority required to amend Article 52(1) of the state constitution at the emergency state assembly sitting yesterday.

All 34 PR assemblymen voted in favour of the amendment while the 20 Barisan Nasional (BN) representatives present opposed it. The coalition needed 38 votes to pass the amendments.

If passed, the amendment would have allowed the Sultan — under the mentri besar’s counsel — to appoint the state secretary, legal adviser and financial officer instead of the federally-controlled PSC.

The issue first came to light when the state opposed Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi’s appointment as state secretary, arguing that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was not informed of the appointment and it was thus invalid.

Khalid said earlier the state was considering allowing Khusrin to carry out his official duties as state secretary.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, however, recently said Putrajaya has the right to appoint the state secretary.

He also said the Sultan’s consent to Khusrin’s appointment was a mere act of “courtesy”.

Sidek further claimed that the Selangor constitution did not require him to consult the state government when making such an appointment.

Noh accused PR of misleading the people by claiming that it wanted to restore the powers of the monarchy.

“We (BN) will go down to each state constituency and explain to the people that the one who does not respect the Sultan and who wants to take the Sultan’s powers is PKR,” said Noh.

“If the amendments were passed, the Sultan would have no power as the Sultan must get consent from the mentri besar. So that means, the mentri besar is more powerful than the Sultan,” he added.