Rulers can check the PM, says Mahathir lawyer


PETALING JAYA: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers have powers under the Federal Constitution to act as a “check and balance” on the prime minister, according to the lawyer for former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla said several provisions in the constitution must be read together to show that the King and Rulers were the fourth arm of the government to check the executive, which is led by the prime minister.

He asserted that constitution amendments in 1993 removing the complete immunity of Rulers allowed the King and the Rulers, in turn, check and balance the other three branches of the government from abuse.

Yesterday, lawyer Syahredzan Johan had said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could not dismiss Najib Razak from office unless the prime minister had lost the confidence of a majority of MPs.

Haniff declined to go into details to explain his contentions. “As far as what are the options available, it is best for us to await the Agong’s decision on the Deklarasi Rakyat,” he said.

He contended that discussion would be improper and impolite before the King had taken legal advice.

On Thursday, Dr Mahathir was granted an audience at Istana Anak Bukit in Kedah at which he handed to Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah a copy of the Citizens’ Declaration which he initiated. It seeks royal intervention to remove Najib Razak from office as prime minister.

The declaration was publicly signed by 45 people, mostly opposition politicians, some Mahathir supporters, and a few activists. A campaign was launched for public signatures, which ran into controversy when a computer programmer said he had sold a database containing personal particulars of more than 600,000 people.

In May, Dr Mahathir declared that some 1.4 million signatures had been collected.