MANADO (North Sulawesi), 15 May 2009: The Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah should not be blamed for the political crisis in Perak, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.
The prime minister said the sultan had adopted the principles and spirit of democracy when appointing the menteri besar from the opposition and also the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Najib also reiterated that he too, should not be blamed for causing the crisis which had dragged on for more than three months.
“In practicing our democracy, the people will choose their elected representatives and the Sultan will appoint the candidate from the party that has gained the majority as the Menteri Besar,” he said at a media conference with here at the end of his two-day working visit here to attend the Summit Meeting of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) which was being held for the first time.
He said the Sultan of Perak had adopted the same procedure when appointing Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir from the BN as the Menteri Besar just like he did when appointing Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS after the 2008 general election.
After the general election, he said, Sultan Azlan Shah had appointed Mohammad Nizar after obtaining the agreement of the majority of the state assemblypersons who had nominated Mohammad Nizar as Menteri Besar.
Najib said that after the opposition parties had lost the majority, the Sultan of Perak then appointed the candidate nominated by the BN after three opposition assemblypersons had declared themselves as Independents and gave their support to Zambry as Menteri Besar.
“Don’t forget…don’t blame Tuanku. In the 2008 general election, the BN was the only party that had the majority in the state assembly with 28 seats … the opposition pact is not registered and remains as three separate parties.
“At that time, if Tuanku had wanted to appoint Tan Sri Tajol Rosli Ghazali (the former Menteri Besar), he would have had the right because the BN was the party that had the biggest majority.
“The Tuanku, in the spirit of democracy based on the resolution made by the elected representatives from the three opposition parties…(After) the Tuanku had received their written pledges, the Tuanku then appointed Nizar as the Menteri Besar,” Najib explained.
But now, the opposition had lost the majority in the state assembly and Sultan Azlan Shah had appointed Zambry who was nominated by the BN using the same approach and based on legitimate principles without breaching the democratic system and constitution.
“This transpired according to procedures in line with the Perak State Constitution and parliamentary democracy.
“This must be explained and that’s why I say that the election is an option and discretion … not a must. The problem is that they (the opposition) do not accept this and hinder this (democratic) process as was done in the state assembly.
“Who asked for the suspension of the MB and BN executive councillors? This is against the spirit of parliamentary democracy. If that’s the case, we (BN) have the majority in Parliament … we can suspend 20 opposition members of parliament (MPs) if we want to. Using the same principles (as in the Perak state assembly), we have the power … discretion, we can do what we like,” said the Prime Minister.
“(But) the Opposition disputed the appointment of Zambry and challenged it in court. We too challenged in court when they suspended the state assemblypersons. Is it reasonable that in a democratic system, when there is a majority, the Speaker suspends six assembly[persons]? If that’s the case, we too can suspend six assembly[persons],” he said.
Najib pointed out that the BN did not seize power in Perak because the change in government was made according to regulations and the law, which, if accepted by everyone, would clearly show that the present BN government could administer Perak as it had received a sufficient majority.
“Don’t forget that on 16 Sept last year, who had wanted to steal 21 of our MPs. But when he failed, and we succeeded in Perak, we were then said to be undemocratic. We have been accused of seizing power.
“It was the opposition who first tried to seize power but without success … we (the BN) did not start it,” Najib stressed. — Bernama