Zaid: Najib, K’tan MB must explain stripping of Dr M's title

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Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has urged both the prime minister and Kelantan menteri besar to explain the revocation of titles awarded to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Amanah lawmaker Husam Musa and former MP Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah by the Kelantan palace.

Commenting on the matter, Zaid said the public was entitled to know why the three were stripped of their titles by the Kelantan sultan.

“It suggests that they did something that either brought the honour system into disrepute, or committed an offence that was outright criminal in nature.

“Here the prime minister (Najib Abdul Razak) and the menteri besar of Kelantan are answerable. Surely the government must adhere to a process when it recommends to a ruler that such a drastic step is justified,” said he in a blog post today.

Zaid added that the two were also the ones who had recommended members of the public to be given titles and awards by the state ruler.

“They should therefore also be responsible for explaining why the titles should be removed. It is not acceptable in this day and age for anyone, not even the prime minister or the menteri besar, to essentially say 'I can do what I like'.

“Can the prime minister and the Kelantan menteri besar tell us what crime or dishonourable act Mahathir, Husam and Wan Abdul Rahim committed that warranted shaming them publicly?

“Exactly what did they do to make them unfit to hold the titles that had been bestowed on them?”

Zaid also urged the Malay rulers to set up a special forfeiture committee to look into such cases that come before them.

“This not only protects the dignity of titleholders from being abused by those who oppose them, but also to protect the rulers themselves from being accused of conduct unbecoming of a sovereign.

The DAP member reminded how respect for rulers would require them to always be non-political, impartial, fair and transparent when performing their duties.

“The last thing the rulers want is to be unwittingly entangled in the maelstrom of dirty politics and abuse of power,” he added.

The Kelantan palace last week revoked the Darjah Kerabat Al-Yunusi (DK) title awarded to Mahathir.

The award, which is limited to 25 recipients at any one time and is usually reserved for royalty, was gifted to Mahathir in 2002 by then Sultan Ismail Petra, who is the father of current ruler Sultan Muhammad V, who is also the present Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The revocation came after the stripping of “Datuk” titles awarded to Salor assemblyperson Husam and Wan Abdul Rahim by the Kelantan palace.

In December last year, Mahathir and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali voluntarily returned two of their respective awards to the Selangor palace, following a tiff over the "Bugis pirate" jibe.

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