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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Palace shenanigans in Selangor state secretary debacle


As the row between Umno and Pakatan Rakyat over who should be the Selangor state secretary heats up, the role of the Palace in state and national politics have come under renewed scrutiny and criticism.

“Tradition dictates that royalty should rise above politics. The spirit of our Constitution requires that our Rulers stay above politics. There is no doubt the Rulers can be very powerful agents for positive change, and in this case, the positive change would mean encouraging maximum consultation to develop maximum consensus and harmony,” Ramon Navaratnam (right), past president of Transparency International toldMalaysia Chronicle.

Remember Perak, remember the injustice there

But the reality may be less ideal in Malaysia, which practises a constitutional monarchy. The most sensational case of royalty abusing their powers was during a power grab launched by Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 with the help of the Perak Sultan. Together with a helpful state secretary, they succeeded in ousting Pakatan mentri besar Nizar Jamaluddin.

TESTThe impact of that coup d'etat is still working its way through Perak society. Few Perakians have forgotten the injustice of being robbed of their chosen leaders and forced to accept the dictates of an administrative team foisted on them by Najib.

However, a similar upheaval is building in Selangor, the country’s richest state, which could dwarf what took place in Perak.

It is already clear that Najib and his Umno party plan to use all the resources and the might of the federal government machinery they control to suppress the Selangor state government led by Pakatan Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

Overseas or bowling in Kelang Parade

Already, Najib's minders have inveigled Palace officials over to their side. Private secretary to the Selangor Sultan, Mohamad Munir Bani, has already been accused of blocking Khalid from meeting the Ruler.

“Khalid was originally slated to meet the Selangor Sultan on December 27 with a shortlist of three names for the state-sec position. But it was suddenly cancelled without reason," a high-level Selangor state government source told Malaysia Chronicle.

"So Khalid decided to bring it up during his weekly meeting with the Sultan which was due to take place yesterday (December 29). This time, Munir told Khalid the Sultan had gone overseas. Now this is really stretching it because the Sultan does not leave the country spontaneously. His schedule is fixed for months ahead. But the best part is that people actually spotted the Sultan playing bowling in the Kelang Parade yesterday. Now, since when has Kelang Parade become overseas? This is clearly unbecoming behaviour, and with all due respect, the Sultan should grill Munir and ask him, what is going on?”

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