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Rule of law must prevail

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Ignoring the controversy over his purported appointment as Selangor State Secretary, Mohd Khusrin Munawi reported for work this morning. Is the Chief Secretary to the Government, Mohd Sidek Hassan, trying to undermine the Selangor state government through this unilateral appointment, wonders P Ramakrishnan.

Chief Secretary to the Govenrment Mohd Sidek Hassan – Photo credit: eperolehan.gov.my

The Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, has precipitated a constitutional crisis in Selangor by ignoring time-honoured norms and constitutional requirements in naming the Selangor State Secretary unilaterally.

In any appointment to a state, there must be consultation before a final decision is taken. This sensible approach has been completely sidelined. Mohd Sidek had chosen to ride roughshod over the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. In doing so, Malaysians are wondering whether he is acting strictly as a civil servant or as a political tool of the Barisan Nasional.

It is a matter of grave concern for Aliran when a functioning state constitution is not respected and its provisions not honoured. It has been pointed out by legal experts that according to Article 52(4) of the Selangor state constitution the state secretary “shall take and subscribe in the presence of the Menteri Besar the following oath of secrecy.” In this instance, the Meneri Besar’s central role cannot be ignored.

Khusrin Munawi

It has been announced that the newly appointed Selangor State Secretary, Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi, will be taking his oath of office in the presence of His Highness, the Sultan of Selangor. This seems odd according to constitutional expert, Prof A. Aziz Bari, who contends that this is a “new practice” and that he was not aware that such a practice existed.

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There is some talk that the MB may convene the state assembly to debate this issue. It may be pertinent to pursue this line of action in order for the state government to exert its authority which is derived from the people.

It would be wrong to set aside what is stated in the written constitution. We must submit ourselves to the rule of law at all times. This is how a democracy functions. Anything short of this will be anarchy.

It is imperative that the state secretary and the MB must enjoy cordial working relationship for the benefit of the state. It is known that Mohd Khusrin and the Selangor state government have been at odds over certain issues. To appoint him as the state secretary in spite of these serious differences would suggest that some foul plot is afoot. Is the Chief Secretary to the Government trying to undermine the Selangor state government?

P Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran

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