Mahathir repeats what he said in 1985 about the Raja-Raja Melayu

(MMO) – Granting Rulers absolute power may lead to them advancing their personal interests instead of their states, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

News portal Malaysiakini reported that the prime minister highlighted the times the Malay Rulers ceded states to the British and the “selling off” of Singapore to the British.

“This is what happens if we give absolute power to the rulers. They may put their own interests before their states’.

“It has happened many times before,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying in a speech at the Perdana Leadership Foundation.

He reportedly said this was why Rulers were not given executive powers.

“It is to save the rakyat — for the rakyat to choose their own representatives, who can be voted out (of power) if they do not perform.”

The prime minister also reportedly criticised the Malay feudal mindset that believed the Malay Rulers could not be questioned even if they made mistakes or violated rule of law.

“Are we willing for this to continue? The rakyat is afraid of not serving the rulers, and when the rulers act beyond the constitution, it is the rakyat who become the victims.

“This is the problem we have now. If we are willing to lose democracy and the parliamentary system, then let’s stop having elections,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.

His remarks came amid a verbal tussle with the Johor royal family over the appointment of a new Johor mentri besar to replace Datuk Osman Sapian who abruptly quit this week, less than a year in office.

Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reportedly said earlier today that his party had two or three candidates for the post.