Heads of state must be above politics, says lawyer

Melaka Governor Mohd Khalil Yaakob yesterday paid a visit to Bentong incumbent Liow Tiong Lai to ‘give him his blessings’. (Youtube screengrab)

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer has warned that heads of states must not be seen as endorsing candidates as they must remain above politics.

Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali said such a move would send a wrong signal to voters who might be supporting different political parties in the general election.

“Just like the legal maxim, not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done, heads of state must clearly remain impartial,” he told FMT.

He said this in response to Melaka Governor Mohd Khalil Yaakob paying a surprise visit to Bentong incumbent Liow Tiong Lai.

Khalil, who is a former Pahang menteri besar, dropped by a gathering yesterday hosted by residents at a house in Kampung Sungai Marong, Bentong.

“I am here to say hello and to give him my blessing,” The Star reported Khalil as saying. Khalil, 80, also said Liow was “very capable”.

He said he had decided to look Liow up as he was in nearby Sabai to visit the MIC candidate for the state seat, R Goonasakaren, who is his driver’s brother-in-law.

Khalil, also a former Umno secretary-general, has been Melaka governor since 2004.

Melaka Pakatan Harapan (PH) deputy chief Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin said the timing of the visit was inappropriate.

“He must be seen as impartial at this point of time as PH and Barisan Nasional together with PAS are also contesting in Melaka.”

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