KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Malaysia would no longer be a democratic country if monarchs were allowed to choose the prime minister and mentri besars, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Responding to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s warning to unnamed parties to stay out of the state’s affairs, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would have been ruled by an absolute monarchy if that were to take place.
“I am in the opinion that if we assume that those who chose PMs and MBs were the monarchs, we will no longer be a democratic country anymore.
“This is because a party that was rightfully chosen by the people that has the power to appoint MBs have had their rights denied and thus undemocratic. We would be a country with an absolute monarchy,” he said during a press conference in Parliament today.
Sultan Ibrahim’s statement comes after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that the role of appointing the new Johor mentri besar lies with the party that won the election, not with the Sultan of Johor.
This follows the resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian that was announced by Dr Mahathir in Parliament yesterday, adding that his replacement must come from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which he is chairman.
According to Dr Mahathir, he said the country practiced constitutional monarchy which also applied to the state of Johor as it was part of the Federation governed by the Federal Constitution.
“While Johor may have its own state constitution, they have agreed to be part of the country’s administrative system.
“During the formation of the Malaya Federation, we introduced constitutional laws to the country and have decided that states under the Federation followed the constitutional monarchy ruling system,” he said.
He then suggested a public discourse could be initiated to determine whether the people would accept the existing constitutional monarchy system or an absolute monarchy.
“If this (constitutional monarchy) is abolished, then we might as well not have a general election anymore,” he said.