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Monday, December 31, 2018

MAHATHIR IS NOT ANTI-MONARCHY: ‘BUT OUR KING IS SAFE ONLY IF HE REMAINS ON THE THRONE – STATE RULERS TOO SHOULD NOT COMPETE WITH THE PEOPLE FOR CONTRACTS, CONCESSIONS OR ANNEXE STATE LANDS’

I HAVE read somewhere in the social media of somebody praising the Prime Minister “for his bravery against the rulers”.
I would like to put it slightly differently.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is brave in the face of adversity and challenges.
He is brave not because he is foolhardy but because he believes in doing the right thing.

He is a very practical person and is able to work with just about anybody for the good of the country.
It is for this reason that he was able to put together a coalition of former adversaries and won the May 9 General Election.
Many had tried for six decades or more to unseat the Alliance/Barisan Nasional government but failed. He successfully did it in less than three years.
In as far as the Rulers are concerned, I think I can state with some authority that Dr Mahathir is not anti-monarchy.
The King swears by the Quran
On the contrary he has established, over his very long political career, cordial and productive working relationship with almost all the Kings that he served under.
Even the one King, with whom he had unhappy relation – the late Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail of Johor – they ended up being “good friends”.
It is recalled that twice he amended the Federal Constitutions over matters directly related to the Sultan – the first was in 1983 and the second 10 years later.
In both instances the Rulers put up a spirited challenge. But armed with a strong mandate from the people, he managed to put through the amendments and patched up with Sultan Iskandar and other Rulers.
The Gomez Affair
I was fortunate to be there when these amendments were pushed through. In fact in some ways I believe I was partly responsible for causing the second amendments be made.
It started rather harmlessly as a daily routine of running a newspaper when the New straits Times’ correspondent in Johor Bahru, Yusof Taib, told me that he heard rumours of the Sultan “roughing up” a Johor hockey coach by the name of Douglas Gomez.
I told him that if he could get the confirmation from either the police or the hospital, I would consider publishing the news. He did and I published the news.
It immediately became a hot topic and compelled the government, in particular Dr Mahathir, to take notice.
It was a trying moment for me as editor and a risky one for Yusof. He was harassed and threatened by people claiming to represent the palace. It forced me to call him back to Kuala Lumpur and closed the new NST office temporarily.
The Constitution was amended to limit the immunity of the Rulers to the performance of official duties only.
They would no longer be immune from prosecution if they harm other people or cheat their business partners.
In so doing, we protect the people from abusive Rulers and restrain them from doing things that would harm the respect for the monarchy.
We did not take away the Rulers’ power as being claimed from time to time by ignorant people or by people who want to suck up to the Rulers.
All that we took away way was their power to harm their own subjects and other people. Interestingly they were known to have caused harm to their own kind.
The Throne
Recently the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia erroneously described me as being critical of the Malay Rulers.
I am not.
Like all Malaysians I respect the Constitution and the Rukun Negara. The constitution acknowledges the King and the state Rulers as constitutional monarchs. I have no problem with that.
What I am critical of is the “unroyal” conduct of the monarchs and their close family members.
The Federal Constitution is supreme and, therefore, it is above the State Constitution should any state proclaims to have its own constitution. We are a federation and the Federal Constitution is the supreme constitution.
As I have said before, the place of the King, and by the same token the state Rulers, is on the throne.
The national anthem, Negaraku, clearly states:
“Rahmat Bahagia
Tuhan Kurniakan
Raja Kita
Selamat Bertakhta.”
Our King will be safe only if he remains on the throne.
Our King and state Rulers should not destroy their dignity by competing with their subjects for contracts and concessions, annexing state lands and taking part in IPPs and IPOs.
Least of all they should not allow themselves to be made used of by unscrupulous businessmen and hangers-on.
I don’t think Malaysians in general mind having so many constitutional monarchs around.
They don’t even mind providing a reasonable sum of money to keep the King and Sultans and their royal consorts happy and comfortable.
In fact I myself enjoy the pomp and pageantry associated with constitutional monarchs as often seen in the United Kingdom and Japan.
Incidentally, I had audiences with both the Japanese and English monarchs, not once but twice.
As I had said in my earlier writings, we should emulate the English and Japanese monarchs as examples of what the 20th century constitutional monarchs should be.
Thank you.
– https://kadirjasin.blogspot.com

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