Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is not the right person to speak on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s behalf regarding His Majesty’s position on the Citizens' Declaration, said constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari.
Most countries with a constitutional monarchy would have its own establishment that can speak on the palace's behalf, rather than speaking through the prime minister, he said.
“What more, in this case we are talking about the position of the prime minister that has become an issue.
"In a way, it is a conflict of interest,” he told reporters after attending a forum in Shah Alam as a panellist yesterday.
He was asked to comment on Najib’s statement last Wednesday that the Agong had told him about Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) adviser Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s royal audience a week earlier.
Mahathir was reported to have brought with him the Citizens' Declaration - which calls for Najib’s removal from office and for institutional reforms - and photos purported to be that of 1.3 million documents signed by the public.
Najib said the Agong had told Mahathir His Majesty could not be involved.
“This is as the declaration made by Bersatu was not in accordance with the constitution.
"Any action should be in line with accepted practices via the parliament and electoral system for the rakyat to make their decision,” Najib said.
Truly reflecting palace views?
Aziz yesterday said the Agong would ideally rise above politics and play a non-partisan role, especially in the tumultuous times Malaysia is facing now.
He said he believes it would not be proper for the palace to reject the Citizens' Declaration outright.
Therefore, he said, Malaysians are left wondering whether Najib’s statement actually reflects the palace’s view of the petition.
“We are wondering what is actually the sikap, or the attitude, or the stance of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in particular, and the Conference of Rulers as a whole.
“Because this is a matter involving the prime minister, so I don’t think he is the right person to speak on (the Agong's) behalf,” he said.
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