Home Civil Society Voices 2014 Civil Society Voices Note to AG: Selangor water restructuring agreement illegal?

Note to AG: Selangor water restructuring agreement illegal?

Can Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim sign such an agreement?

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Serious questions can be raised about Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s legal legitimacy to sign such an agreement, says Charles Santiago.

Can Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim sign such an agreement?
Does Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim have the legitimacy to sign such an agreement?

On 9 September 2014, I issued a statement calling upon the federal government to postpone signing the final Selangor water restructuring agreement on the grounds that doing so would raise questions of moral and legal legitimacy.

I have since learnt that serious questions can be raised about Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s legal legitimacy based on a verdict by the Federal Court, when it dealt with the Perak Menteri Besar dispute in 2010.

I emphasise again that Khalid cannot and has not challenged the fact he no longer commands the support of the majority in the state assembly.

Therefore, he tendered his resignation to the Selangor Sultan on 26 August.

And although the Selangor Sultan has asked him to stay on till a replacement is found, it still does not warrant the need to rush through with inking the final agreement.

His continued status as the MB is at the behest of the Sultan, whose directive clearly means Khalid is only filling a gap, temporarily.

When the former Perak MB Nizar Jamaluddin refused to resign his post, Chief Justice Ariffin Zakaria said he cannot continue to govern after losing majority support and that to do so would be tantamount to going against the principles of democracy.

The Chief Justice further concluded that as Nizar had refused to resign, he and his executive council members were deemed to have vacated their respective offices.

The relevant clauses in the Perak and Selangor constitution are similar in the material parts. The Federal Court judgment clearly reminds us of the status of the Menteri Besar who has lost majority support, loses his legitimacy to govern.

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Thus, Khalid’s status is even weaker that of a caretaker Menteri Besar.

As such, Khalid should not be signing the water contract or any other contracts dealing with any of the state assets.

And taking pot shots at me coupled with lame accusations would only serve to undermine his position even further.

Any third party who therefore enters into such contracts should take notice that a future state government may take the position that such contracts are not legally binding and act accordingly.

Given the severity of this issue, the AG should advise the federal government that the final water restructuring agreement, scheduled to be signed Friday, might be illegal.

Charles Santiago is the Member of Parliament for Klang

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