15/11/2015 10:29 AM
'Council of Elders does not violate democracy and constitution'
Veteran Umno politician Sanusi Junid says there are more undemocratic events taking place under Prime Minister Najib Razak's watch
KUALA LUMPUR : The establishment of a council of elders, as proposed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, will not be running foul of the constitution.
Former Kedah menter besar and veteran Umno politician Sanusi Junid, in defending the idea, said more undemocratic events had taken place under the watch of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has since rejected the proposal.
"It does not contravene democracy or the constitution. After all what is so constitutional about 1MDB? What is so democratic about sacking the deputy prime minister and a Minister for asking questions on 1MDB?
"If there was a council of elders, would they not advice against the idea of putting loyalty above ability when both qualities are actually required for a person to be minister?" he asked.
Sanusi said this in response to fourth Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's idea of having a council of elders, which had been criticised as unconstitutional and undemocratic.
He said the council, if set up, could eliminate other 'councils' that were damaging the country.
"The council of elders is probably meant to replace 'the council of liars', council of foreign conspirators, the council of shoppers, the council of carpet dealers', the council of spin doctors' and the council of hypocrites' who are damaging the country," he told Berita Daily.
He added that at the end of the day, it's merely just an idea that is subject to agreement by all parties.
Mahathir had proposed a concept where the Prime Minister, who took over from Najib, have a council of elders as advisers.
This council will consist of veteran leaders in giving a second opinion should the premier planned to make a decision that will not benefit the country.
The idea has received mixed reactions from various parties. Analyst Abdul Aziz Bari said the idea does not have place in the federal constitution.
Former Selangor MB Muhammad Muhammad Taib however approved the idea, saying that the elders can act as statesman giving pointers to their 'alma matters'.
DAP leader Lim Kit Siang dismissed Mahathir's proposal, saying that what was urgently needed was a restoration of the institutional checks and balances which had been first destroyed by Mahathir during his long 22-year tenure.
Najib last Friday, through a statement slammed the idea saying that not only was it unconstitutional but went against Malaysia's democratic nature.
Sanusi, the former rural and regional development minister, said personal animosity towards Mahathir should not be the measuring stick to consider the idea of elders acting as advisers.
"One should not dismiss the council of elders just because one hates Mahathir.
"We should instead ask why such a council is thought of and who should be members of the Council?
"Certainly it will not include Jho Low, Deepak Jaikishan, Arul Kanda or any appointee of Tony Blair or any Arab representative of a non existing oil and gas concession," he said.