Minister scoffs at petition to oust Najib

There is no provision in the Constitution for the King to sack Mr Najib, said Dr Salleh.
There is no provision in the Constitution for the King to sack Mr Najib, said Dr Salleh.

KUALA LUMPUR • Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak yesterday poured cold water on the notion that Prime Minister Najib Razak could be ousted through the Malaysian King, using millions of public signatures.

Datuk Seri Dr Salleh, a staunch defender of the Najib administration, said in his blog there is no provision in the Malaysian Constitution for the King to sack a prime minister.

The minister was referring to the more than one million public signatures collected by the Save Malaysia campaign led by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad that is to be presented to Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah.

Tun Dr Mahathir along with Umno rebels, opposition leaders and civil society activists have been collecting the signatures as a way to pressure Datuk Seri Najib to step down due to financial scandals tied to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Dr Salleh wrote that according to the federal Constitution, "there is very little His Majesty can do about this petition".

He added: "Of course, just to put on a show and give an impression that the Prime Minister has lost support, you can always get one million signatures and send them to the King.

"But then what? Will you demand that the King sack the Prime Minister even though that would be unlawful?"

Dr Salleh said that the Constitution stated "the member of the House of Representatives who commands the confidence of the majority of members of the House gets to become the prime minister".

Dr Mahathir said on Thursday that 1.072 million signatures had been collected online and 200,000 more on paper in the last two months since the campaign began.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2016, with the headline 'Minister scoffs at petition to oust Najib'. Print Edition | Subscribe