Mentri besar should be Malaysia-born, say experts

PETALING JAYA: There is a provision in the Selangor Constitution disqualifying those who became citizens by naturalisation or registration from becoming a mentri besar.

PKR president Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her deputy Azmin Ali are both Singapore-born.

Constitutional expert Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said Article 53(3) of the State Constitution affirmed that a mentri besar should not be a citizen by naturalisation or registration.

“However, the Sultan could use his discretion to waive any disqualification,” he said.

Section 53(4) states: “In appointing a mentri besar, His Highness may in his discretion dispense with any provision in this Constitution restricting his choice of a mentri besar, if in his opinion it is necessary to do so in order to comply with the provisions of this Article.”

Legal adviser to several non-governmental organisations Hamidzun Khairuddin said PKR should abide by the state laws and convention, as all the previous mentris besar were Selangor-born.

“Apart from the existing laws, political parties must also respect conventions and customs in respective states.

“This is democracy according to the Malaysian mould to ensure political stability in every state.

“Abiding by convention should continue because it does not blemish state and national federalism in this country,” he said.

Hamidzun said PKR should also stop demanding the mentri besar seat as it had the lowest number of seats (13) compared with its Pakatan Rakyat partners DAP and PAS, with 15 seats each.

“The new mentri besar post should be given to a PAS assemblyman, as Khalid would likely vote in favour of PAS since PKR sacked him,” he said.

On whether there was a provision allowing Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to remain as Selangor Mentri Besar until a replacement was appointed, Dr Shad Saleem said it was within the law.

Khalid, he said, could resign but stay on until a new mentri besar was sworn in before Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

“Khalid can tender his resignation under Article 53(7) (of the Selangor State Constitution). The Sultan will then decide on the next course of action. Until then, Khalid can still hold the fort.”

He said the law was silent on whether Khalid could resign but hold on to his post until authorised to do so by the Sultan.

“This will be more in the realm of convention. Prime ministers are known to submit resignations but stay on if asked to do so,” he added.

The Sultan has decreed that Khalid’s resignation, tendered yesterday, will only be accepted when a new mentri besar is sworn in.

The Sultan has also requested the three Pakatan Rakyat component parties to each submit more than two names for consideration to take over from Khalid.

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