A PKR lawmaker has taken inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar to task for ordering the withdrawal of police outriders for Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Noting that Khalid said this was done because Mahathir attended illegal and unconstitutional events, N Surendran said such factors are irrelevant to the consideration of whether the former premier is entitled to the police escort.
"The escort was provided in view of Mahathir's status as a former prime minister and for his safety. It cannot be withdrawn simply because Mahathir attended anti-government events.
"It is no concern of the IGP whether Mahathir attends anti-Najib or anti-BN or anti-government events. It is the democratic right of Mahathir or any other Malaysian citizen to attend such events," he added in a media statement.
Among others, Khalid had cited Mahathir's attendance at events related to the Citizens' Declaration, which aims to remove Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and the Bersih rally.
However, Surendran pointed out that any exercise of power which is unreasonable or takes into account irrelevant factors amounted to an unlawful exercise of power and can be set aside by the High Court.
"The IGP's claim that the above events attended by Mahathir contravened the Federal Constitution is without any basis at all.
"Exactly which provisions of the Federal Constitution do those events breach?" he asked.
The Padang Serai MP argued that it is perfectly legitimate and constitutional to peacefully call for the removal of the current prime minister or even the dismissal of the government.
"The IGP must bear in mind that he holds his office in trust and for the benefit of the people. All his actions must be in the interest of the nation as a whole.
"He must be scrupulously neutral in all ongoing political disputes. He must not express any opinions on the Citizens' Declaration or related matters because these are expressions of political differences or dissent against the existing government or its leaders.
"This kind of criticism is allowed, and even encouraged by the constitution, particularly through the guarantee of freedom of speech and expression in Article 10," he said.
As a public servant, Surendran said the IGP must exercise his power according to law and established legal principles.
Since he has taken into account irrelevant considerations in withdrawing the police escort, that exercise of power is vitiated, the MP said Khalid, in order to stay within the law, has no option but to restore Mahathir's police escort.