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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dr M has right to attend Agong installation, says law don

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has "every right" to attend the installation of the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, said constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari.

"If it is true that the invitation extended to Dr Mahathir has been withdrawn, then the Conference of Rulers or the national palace should clarify the matter.

"As former prime minister and holder of the Tunship, Dr Mahathir has every right to be there," Aziz (photo) said in a statement today.

The installation of the Agong is an important national event, he said, and should be above partisan politics.

The office of the Agong is a symbol of authority and unity for the nation, said the law professor, and is not under the direction or influence of the sitting government.

"One must not confuse the constitutional duty of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to act on advice of the government.

"This is part and parcel of parliamentary government, which requires the government to be answerable to the MPs in the House.

"But this does not mean that he is a rubber stamp and has no dignity as the head of state," Aziz said.

It is time, he said, for the Conference of Rulers to assert its authority as the guardian of the monarchy.

The rulers must not allow the institution to be perceived as the mouthpiece of the sitting government, he said.

Dr M's invitation withdrawn

Mahathir's invitation to the installation of the new Agong had reportedly been withdrawn, after a letter on the alleged revocation, dated Dec 5, was circulated on social media.

The former prime minister's aide confirmed the contents of the letter, marked confidential, where it is mentioned that no chair would be provided for Mahathir at the event.

The letter, bearing the signature of the keeper of the ruler's seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, also said Mahathir was being informed of this beforehand to spare him any embarrassment.

The Conference of Rulers has consented to declare Kelantan's Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, effective Dec 13.

Perak's Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah was appointed the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Sultan Muhammad V will be succeeding Kedah Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, who ends his five-year term as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 12. - Malaysiakini

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