KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the federated Malay states had adopted a system of constitutional monarchy and rulers did not hold absolute power.
Responding to a post by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who said there should be no interference in state affairs as Johor still possessed sovereignty and a sultan on its throne, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would not be a democratic nation if the rulers had the final word on who became prime minister or menteri besar.
“I am of the opinion that if we assume that those who can choose the prime minister and menteri besar are the kings, then we are no longer a democratic country.”
Dr Mahathir said the people picked political parties, which in turn had the right to appoint the menteri besar.
“If this right is denied, then it would mean that we are no longer a democracy.”
Earlier, the prime minister said the constitution was drafted when the federated Malay states were formed.
“This is a very serious thing. In the constitution, we have stated that the federated Malay states adopted the constitutional monarchy system.
“There is no ruler with absolute power.
“If there such a thing (ruler with absolute power) in Johor’s state constitution, it would have been rendered annulled since Johor has also agreed with the country’s ruling system.”
Dr Mahathir said if the current ruling system was abolished then elections would also have to be done away with.
Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim, in a posting on his official Facebook page, said he would make a decision on the vacant menteri besar post when the time came.
“I will make the best decision for the sake of my rakyat when the time comes.”
The ruler said he was currently overseas but was always following developments in the country, especially in Johor, through reports from all parties.
“I want certain parties to stop making noise and fighting about politics, but instead to focus on efforts to take care of the country.
“In regards to Johor, do not try to interfere with the administration of this sovereign state which still has a sultan,” he said in the posting.
The menteri besar’s post is currently vacant following the resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian on Monday.
Sultan Ibrahim is scheduled to return to the state at the end of the week.