When the Malaysian bough breaks, HRH Sultan of Johor comes to the rescue

May 12, 2016

COMMENT: When our system of government breaks down because our constitution is not worth the paper it is printed on; when the people we elect let us down and become kleptocrats; when our judicial system fails to administer justice; when Parliament is a mere rubber stamp; and  when our civil service, the Police Force and the Armed Forces fail to do their assigned duties without fear or favour, Malaysia drifts into a state of anarchy. Even our Rulers with the exception of HRH Sultan of Johor and HRH Tunku Mahkota Johor are submissive to politicians in power. We are today without a functioning democracy.

Fortunately, the Sultan of Johor has always been fiercely independent since Independence (from the days of the great Sultan Abu Bakar and his successors) to assume the role of arbiter in the affairs of the Malaysian state while his Brother Rulers opted to be subservient to politicians and remain mute even when they know that politicians no longer serve their subjects. So I am in favour of resorting to some form of Royal veto to prevent politicians from abusing public trust, including the power to sack the nation’s chief executive.Din Merican

When the Malaysian bough breaks, HRH Sultan of Johor comes to the rescue

by Scott Ng

 Are we hoping for the monarchy to provide the checks and balances that the opposition hasn’t been able to?

If we take the idea of democracy as implying the elevation of the voice of the masses and compare it with the idea of monarchy, the elevation of an individual voice, then we obviously have something of an ideological clash, though our system does give a passing nod to the idea of royal opinion having an effect on the making of law. That being said, Royal Consent for laws was made little more than a formality after the Mahathir engineered constitutional crisis of 1993.

Given the roots of the crisis and Johor’s role in it, one can understand why Sultan Ibrahim of Johor is reportedly seeking the re-establishment of the monarchy’s power to approve legislation. Under the Federal Constitution, as it was amended in 1993, a bill becomes law 30 days after Parliament passes it, regardless of whether the King approves.

The Sultan has called the curbing of Royal power inappropriate and is seeking the relevant constitutional amendments necessary to restore royal authority to approve or veto legislation. Some elements have welcomed the Sultan’s call, judging by comments on social media.

It is understandable why the Sultan’s suggestion has appeal. The ruling government has long been in need of a check-and-balance mechanism. In the absence of a strong and vibrant parliamentary opposition, checks and balances provided by even-handed, fair rulers guided by noblesse oblige would be the last barrier against the excesses of the executive branch of government.

The Johor Royals, in particular, have lately endeared themselves to the people of Malaysia like never before. For example, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail is a tremendously popular figure among the youth. The Sultan and the Prince have built this love around their Bangsa Johor rhetoric and have demonstrated a fiercely independent streak. Today, they can be considered among Malaysia’s most influential royals, not because of the powers conferred on them, but because they are seen as leaders who contribute to the shaping of the nation’s consciousness, press release by press release.<

However, DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh has raised some valid points that bring us back to the question of how a constitutional monarchy fits into the idea of democracy. While the two can complement each other, a royal ruler is nonetheless ruler by right of extraordinary privilege while a politician can come from any background and thus be supported by the people as one of their own. He leads by right of having earned votes.

But an apolitical monarchy, like the one currently headed by Queen Elizabeth II, also has its uses as a neutral institution. The English Royal Family is like a branch of a state department, earning its keep by performing diplomatic functions.

But the true argument against empowering royalty rests on the fact that agendas and policies change with each ruler, who is, furthermore, not vetted by the people. It is because of this that kingdoms have risen and fallen. While we do live in the modern age, we are often reminded of that fact when we become aware of unfair elections and the like, which keep a dominant party and a dominant ideology in power, not necessarily in accordance with the wishes of the people.

Nonetheless, the Sultan’s proposal is interesting indeed. On this, it is perhaps best to concur with historian Khoo Kay Khim, who feels like it is us, the public, who should decide whether or not to restore power to the monarchy. After all, we are a democracy, and it is still our choice, nominally at least.

4 thoughts on “When the Malaysian bough breaks, HRH Sultan of Johor comes to the rescue

  1. untoldhistoryofmalaysia
    Salah satunya ialah rahsia ahli nombor 6, ketika penubuhan Umno itu sendiri. Umno telah ditubuhkan dengan keahlian bukan Melayu. Ahli nombor 6 ini seorang doktor perubatan dan bukan Melayu. Dia merupakan anak kepada British and Indian descendants, berasal dari Batu Gajah, Perak.

    Sedikit latar belakang,Sir Harold McMichael pada tahun 1945 telah ditugaskan oleh ‘London’ untuk mendapatkan tandatangan semua raja-raja Melayu tetapi bila bertemu dengan DYMM Sultan Ibrahim (Johor), baginda Sultan telah tidak mahu menandatangani perjanjian tersebut. Tanpa tandatangan Sultan Ibrahim sudah tentu perjanjian tersebut tidak bernilai. Perbagai helah digunakan termasuk mempengaruhi anak Sultan Ibrahim.
    Sultan sememangnya berkeras tidak mahu menandatangani perjanjian tetapi Dato’ Onn pengasas Umno berusaha bersungguh – sungguh memujuk Sultan Ibrahim sehingga menggunakan Dr. Paglar yang sememangnya rapat dengan Sultan.
    Akhirnya Dr Paglar berjaya menggunakan pengaruhnya untuk mendapatkan tandatangan Sultan bagi pihak McMichale. Kemudian Umno pun ditubuhkan di Istana Johor dan Dr. DR. CHARLES JOSEPH PEMBERTON PAGLAR diberi keahlian UMNO bernombor # 000006


    Persoalanya kini
    1.apa asas penubuhan UMNO ?
    2.Umno tubuh dengan antara pengasasnya bukan Melayu?
    3.perjanjian apa yang sungguh – sungguh diusahakan untuk tandatangan Sultan itu ?

  2. “… the public, who should decide whether or not to restore power to the monarchy. After all, … it is still our choice..”

    Scott Ng, there lies the problem. In our Westminister style of democracy, our elected representatives are the ones could restore some power to the monarchy via Parliament. And yet such an event would curtail the abuses practiced by the very same representives in power. Can you see this lot repealing the laws curbing the monarchy? Will they pass a bill which might remove their licence to abuse? I leave you, Scott, to answer question raised by your last paragraph.

    I was taught in Management never to come forth with a problem without a proposed solution. Scott, what is your proposed solution?

  3. The Royalty of the UK and that of Malaysia cannot sit on the same scale. The UK has a functioning and visible democracy for ages that sees a fairly equal 2 party system that allows the Conservatives and Labour win elections and form government in alternate cycles. Even the previous government was one of a coalition of the Conservative and Liberal parties.

    Malaysia’s, on the other hand, has been the same one namesake coalition – the Barisan National – from the very beginning till now with UMNO in total and absolute control. It is abysmally corrupt and it is in no mood to slacken its iron grip on power and it is the PM who sets the tone for all the thuggery that is taking place.

    This is a special situation that warrants special handling. Perhaps Dato Merican’s prescription of giving Royal veto to prevent politicians from abusing public trust, including the power to sack the nation’s chief executive may be the way to go. To play it safe the veto can be in place for initial 20 years subject to review thereafter. But who is going to get this process through i.e bell the cat?
    To get a constitutional amendment through Parliament requires 2/3rd’s majority. Right now, it cannot be done. We are trapped.–Din Merican

  4. Its naive for anyone to believe in ‘democracy’. By now it should be plain clear for the awaken to know that the world is ruled by banksters. There is no true government, there are only corporations disguised as one. Except for China, Cuba, and Russia the banksters namely the “Rottenchild” are issuing the fiat money of the respective ‘nation’ and of course Malaysia is not excluded (we were a colony remember). Who owns the Malaysian central bank? https://peoplestrustmalaysia.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/bank-negara-malaysia-central-bank-of-malaysia-who-owns-it/

    The good news offering hopes for humanity is that whole world is changing, and undergoing change. Look at what’s happening around the world both politically and financially (the core of the rotten cyst)

    The ‘winds of change’ is blowing and what we see going on in Malaysia is exactly that. The whole rotten system is surfacing and its unstoppable. For Malaysians to wake up they must see the putrid and foul of the system…there is no other way!

    Positively speaking, I thank Najib for uniting the people although its not what he bargained for.

    To change we need to know ‘what’ is to be changed.

    I think, now Malaysians are fairly getting the idea.


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