Govt has no respect for the constitution or rule of law – Dr Mahathir
(Malaysiakini) – Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Pejuang-Langkawi) said the current government does not respect the Constitution or the laws passed by Parliament.
He said those in power appear to be doing as they please without regard for the rule of law.
An example, he claimed, was properties “gifted” to former prime ministers Najib Abdul Razak and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi worth RM100 million and RM70 million respectively.
“What we are seeing is a government who acts as if they have more power than the Constitution, they can do whatever they want and do not need to refer to this House,” he said.
Mahathir was speaking during his debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He admitted there are no laws governing gifts for ex-prime ministers.
He acknowledged they were tokens of appreciation for prime ministers’ contributions to the country during their tenure, similar to “golden handshakes” for well-performing employees in the private sector.
While former prime ministers were given a house in the past, Mahathir claimed that the fifth and sixth prime ministers received properties worth an excessive amount.
“In a golden handshake, usually the individual who has contributed will be given a gift but it may be limited to a Rolex watch…
“But we see in the government, what has been suggested and given to the former prime ministers is far bigger than a Rolex watch.
“This is an action that is above the law. Even though there are no laws forbidding it, the action taken is extraordinary, from (the government’s) allocations.
“The government is acting like they can make whatever decision and their decisions cannot be questioned by the rakyat,” he said.
Mahathir first brought up in Parliament the matter of Najib’s request for a RM100 million piece of land last November. At the time, it was revealed that the cabinet had agreed in principle to grant Najib the land.
However, Najib decided to withdraw his request before the cabinet’s decision was announced.
Meanwhile, Mahathir also said the government was ignoring the rule of law when they formed bodies for purposes already handled by another body, which are headed by well-paid officials.
He said there are laws in place on the formation of such bodies and, as far as he was aware, these newly formed bodies did not obtain the approval of Parliament.
The main problem is that these decisions were made without referring to the law or the Dewan Rakyat, he stressed.
“Everything that is done must be done in line with protocol. This august House must be referred to for everything the government wants to do.
“Our country must return to the rule of law. The rule of law is very important because if there are no such rules, then this House cannot even convene,” Mahathir said.