Saturday March 14 2009
By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — More than a month after Barisan Nasional ousted Pakatan Rakyat from Perak, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the takeover was not done according to the law.
He said mistakes, bad strategy and carelessness in the Feb 5 power grab, orchestrated by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had led to the current crisis in the state.
"You cannot topple a menteri besar or a prime minister without a no-confidence vote in the assembly. There is no other provision," he said at a function organised by Mubarak, the association for former elected representatives.
"Umno-BN was too careless and did not wait for an assembly but instead asked the Ruler to sack the menteri besar," he said, referring to Sultan Azlan Shah's decision to ask Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin to resign.
"As far as I know, there is no such provision in the Perak or Federal Constitution," he said.
Dr Mahathir said that BN should have done it properly and not "be in conflict with the law" as the courts may now rule that the Sultan has no right to sack a menteri besar.
He added that a Sultan could only reject a candidate for one of his choice after an election but even this candidate could be defeated in the assembly by a vote.
The veteran politician said BN should have "followed the laws of the country, especially the constitution."
"Because this may be in conflict with the law, we find that people will not comply. Because we started on the wrong foot, people are now against us," said Dr Mahathir, who quit Umno last year in a long-running feud with his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Perak power grab is now mired in a series of lawsuits, with both sides claiming to be the legitimate government.
Six people have also been charged with insulting the Perak Ruler after he backed BN to govern the state. One has pleaded guilty and was fined RM10,000 yesterday while five others claimed trial.
Umno has said those who opposed the Sultan's decision are committing treason.