Johor housing Bill to be amended

Johor housing Bill to be amended

NUSAJAYA - An amendment has been made to the proposed Johor Housing and Real Property Board Enactment 2014 stating that the Johor Sultan will act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.

"The reason why we are doing this is to show that the state government is acting in good faith and there is no intention on our part to provide executive powers to the Johor Ruler or disturb the monarchy system," said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

He said the amendment would make it clear that the Sultan would act on the advice of the Mentri Besar especially on matters related to the appointment of board members.

The Bill, which is expected to be passed at the state assembly today, became controversial initially when many perceived it as giving executive powers to the Sultan.

Yesterday, Khaled announced during the state assembly sitting that clauses in the Bill which mentioned the Johor Ruler would be changed to "state authorities".

"Concerns have been raised on how much of power would be allocated to the Ruler.

"To discuss this matter, we have to look at two parts of the Johor State Constitution 1895 clause 7(1) which states that the Sultan must follow the advice of the state council or a member of the council."

"The same clause is also seen in article 40 of the Federal Constitution which states that the Agong must act on advice," he said.

He added that clause 7(2) of the state constitution also states that the Ruler had discretionary powers when it came to seven issues only and this included the appointment of the Mentri Besar, the power to defer approval to dissolve the state assembly and others.

"I am not going to read out all the seven issues but it is clear that we are not giving executive power to the Johor Ruler," he said.

It is understood that the Bill empowers the Ruler to appoint board members except for those already specified and to decide on the remuneration for such members.

The Bill also allowed the Sultan to have the power to order investigation into the accounts and businesses of the board.

Khaled then had a 45-minute briefing for all 38 Barisan Nasional representatives on issues related to the Bill.

On a separate matter, Mohamed Khaled said that Johor would be initiating a study to determine whether it was feasible to standardise the state's weekly off days for both the public and private sectors.

"We understand that families are finding it hard to spend quality time together after the state's off days were changed to Friday and Saturday. We will see whether it is appropriate to synchronise the off days after studying the impact towards the industrial, banking and financial sector," he said.

The state, he said, would conduct a comparative study with Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan which had implemented similar changes.

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