He might have been a judge before but he is also a shining example of the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.His summing up of the Perak crisis transcends the true verdict of the Sultan of Perak rights and powers under the Constitution, telling half a story.
I replicate below the relevant articles of the Perak State Constitution:
12. Appointment of Mentri Besar.
(1) His Royal Highness shall appoint by instrument under his
sign manual and State Seal, a Menteri Besar pursuant to paragraph
(a) of Clause 2 of Article 16.
(2) No person shall be appointed to be Mentri Besar unless he is
of the Malay race and professes the Muslim Religion:
Provided that His Royal Highness may in His discretion waive
either or both of the foregoing requirements of this paragraph
relating to race and the Muslim Religion whenever he shall consider
it expedient so to do.
16. The Executive Council.
(1) His Royal Highness shall appoint an Executive Council.
(2) The Executive Council shall be appointed as follows, that
is to say-
(a) His Royal Highness shall first appoint as Mentri Besar to
preside over the Executive Council a member of the Legis-
lative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command
the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assem-
b) he shall on the advice of the Mentri Besar appoint not more
than ten nor less than four other members from among the
members of the Legislative Assembly;
but if an appointment is made while the Legislative Assembly is
dissolved a person who was a member of the Last Legislative Assem-
bly may be appointed but shall not continue to hold office after the
first sitting of the next Legislative Assembly unless he is a member
(3) Notwithstanding anything in this Article, a person who is a
citizen by naturalisation or by registration under Article 17 of the
Federal Constitution shall not be appointed Mentri Besar.
(4) In appointing a Mentri Besar, His Royal Highness may, in
his discretion, dispense with any provision in the Constitution of the
State restricting his choice of a Mentri Besar, if in his opinion it is
necessary to do in order to comply with the provisions of this Article.
(5) The Executive Council shall be collectively responsible to the
(6) If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the
majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at
his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly,
he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.
(7) Subject to Clause (6) a member of the Executive Council
other than the Mentri Besar shall hold office at His Royal Highness'
pleasure, but any member of the Council may at any time resign his
The relevant articles are 16.2(a) and 16.6 which His Majesty Sultan of Perak has complied with.Article 16.2(a) clearly spelled out that " who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly"
There is nothing in the Constitution that says that the Sultan must meet both parties before he decides who should he appoints as menteri besar as espoused by our learned judge below:
Q: Why do you think the people are angry?
A: Do you know why the Perakians were up in uproar against the Sultan of Perak?
It's because, as any lawyer will tell you, especially as he was Lord President before, that before you make a decision, you cannot see the parties. If you want to meet any of the parties, both of them must be present. You never do so by seeing one and then making a decision. The moment you do that, to the losing side or to any observer will think you have been influenced. So it's the impression that counts.
They were angry with the Sultan because they can sense it in their bones that it is wrong to make a decision to see the other side first.
Sure! the uninitiated men in the streets would be in uproar if too many half-cooked foods are thrown on the streets to feed them.
The Sultan had acted to the letter of the Constitution.To interpret otherwise is mischievous and rousing the rabble.
I must compare what the Sultan did and what I experienced in my many years of doing business.
I used to manage one of the biggest timber exporting companies in this country with markets that span the entire globe from Japan,Korea,the Middle East,Europe and the Americas.
A shipment that takes an entire ship can cost a couple of million ringgit.All the documents and the Bill of Lading would be submitted to the bank to negotiate the L/C (Letter of Credit).As long as all documents are in order and in compliance with the terms and conditions of the L/C the bank would pay you the full sum and get reimbursement from the issuing/reimbursement bank.
The Bill of Lading is the key document to show proof that you have shipped the goods for delivery to the buyer. The bank is only responsible in dealing with documents and not the cargo itself.It is not their business to check whether you have actually shipped the cargo or not or whether the Bill of Lading is genuine or forgery.You can ship a ton of shit as far as you are concerned or not ship anything at all and the bank would still pay you if they deemed your documents are in order.
The same goes with shipping companies.They only deal with carriage of goods and not responsible for what you ship.Take for example plywood in crates or coffee beans in sacks the content of which are not visible.A fly by night or crooked businessman could have loaded broken bricks in the crates and sacks and the shipping company wouldn't have a clue what it is and it is not their responsibility to check the content.They will issue the Bill of Lading and you joyfully go to your bank and get your money.That's why in international business there are a lot of mutual trust and where doubts exist buyer would either send inspectors or surveyors to check and survey the cargo before shipment.
I believe Sultan Azlan Shah has not been wrong in what he did, he deals with the constitution not with emotions and sentiments.
Read the ex-judge full interview here.