Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not go to Istana Negara late in the night of May 9, the day of the 14th general election, his office said today.
The Prime Minister’s Office clarified this after the former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad claimed that Mahathir had gone to the palace uninvited and asked to be sworn into office.
“(The) PMO would like to clarify that Hamid’s claim is baseless and there was no attempt by Mahathir to go to the Istana that night. He went to Istana only in the late afternoon the next day for the oath-taking ceremony,” it said.
Hamid had written an article on the supposed mistakes made by Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V during the latter’s reign as the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
Among others, he claimed that Mahathir had gone to the palace on the night of May 9 as soon as results showed that Pakatan Harapan had won a simple majority in Parliament.
He claimed that Mahathir was in a hurry to be sworn in out of fear that he could lose the majority due to defections amongst the newly-elected MPs.
“To me, it is embarrassing for a future prime minister to go uninvited at night, perhaps waking up the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong if he was asleep to swear him in as prime minister.
“Secondly, the Agong should not be seen to be working under duress. His Majesty has the prerogative to satisfy himself who has the majority support amongst the newly-elected MPs,” he wrote.
Hamid’s article was published on his personal blog on Wednesday and by Umno Online today.
On another matter, he said it was also a mistake for the then Agong to tell Mahathir that he was amenable to pardoning PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was then serving a jail sentence for alleged sodomy.
This was because, claimed Hamid (photo), he (the Agong) had already told Mahathir of his intention to pardon Anwar before the Pardons Board meeting.
“It is even worse that His Majesty told Anwar that he is being pardoned because of the injustice inflicted upon him. This will demoralise the courts, the prosecutors and the police because it implies that they were a tool of the previous government.
The former top judge also criticised the former Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for supposedly conducting swearing-in ceremonies out of office hours.
He said this included the controversial appointments of Mohd Rauf Sharif as chief justice and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin as president of the Court of Appeal. They were sworn in at night at the palace.
“The same goes for the swearing-in of Richard Malanjum as chief justice. This is an official function of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and should be taken seriously. It should be done during office hours,” he noted.