Dr M says rulers with absolute power may use it for their own interests

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(April 11): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said if the rulers have absolute powers, they may use the power for their own interests.

In his speech at a function in the Perdana Leadership Foundation earlier today, Mahathir said that certain rulers may use such power for their own interests, rather than for their States, Malaysiakini reported.

"This is what happens if we give absolute power to the rulers. They may put their own interests before their States'.

"It has happened many times before," Dr Mahathir said, pointing to episodes in the past from the Malay rulers ceding their States to the British, and the "selling off" of Singapore to the British.

Mahathir added that this is the reason the rulers are not given executive powers.

"It is to save the rakyat — for the rakyat to choose their own representatives, who can be voted out (of power) if they do not perform."

Mahathir also commented on the "feudal" mindset of the Malays, who are of the view that the Malay rulers cannot be questioned, even if they make mistakes and do not follow the rule of law.

"Are we willing for this to continue? The rakyat is afraid of not serving the rulers, and when the rulers act beyond the constitution, it is the rakyat who become the victims.

"This is the problem we have now. If we are willing to lose democracy and the Parliamentary system, then let's stop having elections," he said.