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Raja Perlis does not want a 'puppet' MB

  • Raja Perlis posing with MB Azlan Man and opposition state assemblymen. Photo courtesy: Bernama

ARAU, May 24 (Bernama) -- The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, today expressed sadness over the political situation in the state where the Barisan Nasional seems to be embroiled in a crisis over the selection of the menteri besar.

In his address at the swearing-in of Bintong state assemblyman Datuk Seri Azlan Man as the menteri besar at Istana Arau, the Ruler said he was disappointed that none of the nine other BN state assemblymen attended the ceremony. Only the three Pakatan Harapan and two PAS elected representatives were present.

The BN had won 10 of the 15 seats in the state legislative assembly in the general election on May 9 to form the state government with a two-thirds majority.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said it was sad that the BN state assemblymen had given more importance to the candidate for menteri besar than getting down to the business of forming the government by appointing the menteri besar and state executive councillors and working towards developing the state.

"The appointment of the menteri besar has taken a long time compared to the other states. It can be said that we (Perlis) are the last to form the state government. Surely, there must be a reason why this has happened.

"A similar situation emerged in 2008 and it took two weeks (to form the government). It is due to the vested interests of some people. I do not wish to mention names but I think you people will know because a large number of that group is not present," he said in an apparent reference to the absent BN assemblymen.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said that up to yesterday he had only two shortlisted names for menteri besar -- Datuk Seri Azlan Man and Tambun Tulang state assemblyman Datuk Ismail Kassim, younger brother of Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim, the chairman of the Perlis Umno Liaison Committee.

He said that he did not want to appoint as the menteri besar an individual who would become a puppet controlled by "external forces".

He also said that recently he granted an audience to each of the 10 BN assemblymen and asked them several questions.

"When I asked them whether YAB (Azlan) could be appointed the menteri besar, many of them said 'no' while two or three said they will try to accept him. I asked them who was more qualified and to give me the name.

"I found out from their replies that the elected representatives were more submissive to the state Umno liaison committee chief than the federal Umno leaders," he said, adding that it was as though someone had a hold over them.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said he was reluctant to appoint Datuk Ismail Kassim because he did not want to choose a menteri besar who would become a puppet controlled by "external forces".

He said the menteri besar had to take the oath of secrecy and that if Ismail was appointed as the menteri besar he would reveal secrets to his elder brother Shahidan.

"I wish to be frank. I do not want external forces to control the menteri besar. If Shahidan had wanted to be the menteri besar, he should have contested a state seat but he contested a parliamentary seat," he said. Shahidan is the MP for Arau.

The Ruler said that initially he had not wanted to reveal anything, thinking that it could just be his assumption.

"But look at what happened today. My assumption turned out to be 100 per cent correct because the nine other BN state assemblymen are not present (at the swearing-in ceremony), meaning they are controlled by someone.

"They have all been dragged to Kuala Lumpur. They did not want to accord respect and attend today's function," he said.

The Ruler said he did not understand why all the assemblymen were absent when the invitations were sent out two days earlier when all of them were in Perlis then.

"This is what I was worried about all along. Today, the suspicion has turned out to be true. This is a minor matter but if it is allowed to go on, it could get worse. I hope all of you understand what I want to send across.

"I want Perlis to be progressive and the people to benefit, all levels of the people regardless of community and religion. The fear is that the wrong choice of menteri besar will result in only one group enjoying the benefits.

"I seek forgiveness for what I have said. I have revealed what I should not have said. But, that is my sincere feeling. I hope the people of the state understand my choice (of menteri besar)," he said.



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