Who becomes MB is up to assemblymen, says ex-judge

Sungai Tua assemblyman Amirudin Shari was chosen as the new MB to succeed Azmin Ali, who has been made a federal minister. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Elected representatives should decide among themselves who should be appointed menteri besar or chief minister, in line with provisions in state constitutions, says retired judge Gopal Sri Ram.

He said the person chosen must command the confidence of the majority of members in the legislature.

“Soon after the election, all assemblymen should meet and then convey their decision to the ruler or governor,” he said.

Sri Ram said the constitutions did not speak about the acceptability of a candidate by the appointing authority (rulers or governors).

Gopal Sri Ram.

“The head of state (ruler or governor) has to accept the choice made by the legislative members,” he said.

Sri Ram was responding to a report that PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had submitted three names to the Sultan of Selangor to choose a candidate for the post of menteri besar.

On Tuesday, the Selangor ruler appointed Sungai Tua assemblyman Amirudin Shari as the new menteri besar in place of Mohamed Azmin Ali, who has been made a federal minister.

It was not revealed who the other two nominees were.

PKR’s Ijok assemblyman Idris Ahmad had claimed he was the only candidate for menteri besar preferred by all four component parties of Pakatan Harapan (PH), and that Amirudin only had the backing of Azmin.

In the May 9 general election, Selangor PH secured 51 seats and the opposition five seats.

After the polls, the head of states had adopted different approaches to select their MBs or CMs, like asking for more than one name and interviewing assemblymen.

Sri Ram said a Ruler is above politics and he accepts no responsibility in case a no-confidence motion is passed against the MB or CM.

“A constitutional monarch works with whoever enjoys the confidence of the majority and has no likes or dislikes,” he said.

He added that it was well known that Queen Elizabeth did not get on with Margaret Thatcher, yet she was appointed prime minister as she commanded the confidence of those in the House of Commons.

Constitutional lawyer Bastian Pius Vendargon said a careful reading of the constitution showed that in appointing a prime minister, MB or CM, party affiliatiion was not relevant.

“Party politics is not part of the Malaysian constitutional law but it is part of constitutional practice,” he said, adding that party politics was a product of history that originated from England.

He said assemblymen should put it in black-and-white their preferred candidate and despatch a person to have an audience with the head of state.

“Only the candidate nominated by the majority of assemblymen should accept the appointment,” he said, adding that any others must then be prepared to face a no-confidence vote in the state assembly.