Malay PM shuts door on talks with sultans

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuter) - The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed, yesterday shut the door on talks with the country's hereditary rulers after introducing constitutional amendments on their rights that they have rejected.

'We have had so many detailed discussions with them, and they have now decided to reject the proposed amendments,' Mr Mahathir told reporters after putting forward a bill in parliament to strip the sultans of their legal immunity. 'The negotiating process seems to have been a waste. There was no meaning . . . If they dispute it, they can dispute in the court,' he said in response to questions about the nine sultans' position.

The sultans issued a statement after a Conference of Rulers meeting, saying no law ever introduced in Malaysia proposed 'such radical changes with far-reaching consequences on the sovereignty of the Malay rulers'.