I am okay with constitutional monarchy ... on condition the monarch also agrees with his constitutional role and not imagine he is a modern day Sultan Mansur Shah who can sentence the likes of Hang Tuah to death on a mere unsubstantiated rumour, or bash a caddy on the head with a putter, or whack a hockey coach, all because he wasn't too happy.
But of course I am only a Chinese Malaysian and shouldn’t have said the above as the royal person of a Sultan is a sensitive issue for Malays, especially nowadays when there are a couple of guardian organizations for Malay rights like Perkasa etc.
But would I be insensitive in just reading Malaysiakini’s article Some can insult sultans with impunity?
Incidentally, now that I mentioned Perkasa, you may want to know the above MKINI article reported that on 10 December 1992 during a parliamentary session where UMNO chewed up the Malay royalty right royally, Ibrahim Ali, then the BN MP for Pasir Mas, urged the government to amend the constitution to spell out clearly what privileges should be accorded to the members of the royalty.
He made the comment following the most devastatingly speech made against royalty by Dr Affifuddin Omar (BN-Padang Terap).
Yes, the UMNO bloke who took the cake in that royalty-chewing session was reported by MKINI as follows:
Affifuddin asked, "How can we continue to uphold rulers who are known to be robbers, adulterers, drunkards and kaki pukul (thugs)?"
"The rulers must be reminded that they were not reincarnations of dewa-dewa (deities). They were put in their position as rulers by the people."
"The immunity gave the rulers the status of 'half-man and half-god' and allowed irresponsible rulers to commit serious crimes which tarnished the image of the institution."
"It was about time that the 'false sense of political power' associated with rulers in this country be abolished."
"They (the rulers) must be made to realise that they do not own this country. They are not Superman but placed on their thrones by the people. "The real power did not lie with them, but with us - the representatives of the people."
"The 'syndrome of religiosity' associated with the rulers was only to cloud the people's view of who the rulers actually were."
Strangely enough, for an UMNO bloke he wasn't exactly wrong on principles. But of course he and people like Ibrahim Ali only had the balls to say above after (then) PM Dr Mahathir pulled out the royal fangs.
With that, Hang Jebat had his final revenge. UMNO rehabilitated him.
I heard that UMNO named the biggest hall in its HQ building after Jebat, while the smallest was assigned the moniker of Hang Tuah. Is this true? If so, then it was the biggest UMNO two-fingers to Malay royalty. I am glad that Tunku Abdul Rahman was no longer around because it would have broken the heart of the nation’s most ardent monarchist.
Years ago during Tunku’s premiership, the RMN's second frigate was originally named after Hang Jebat but subsequently renamed KD Rahmat. The reason provided was that after some fires broke out in its engine room, the renaming was to break the jinx.
But according to my uncle who was in the Armed Forces then, he heard that the Tunku found it repugnant to name a navy frigate after Malay’s most notorious traitor.
Well, after 1992, the rehabilitation of Jebat was complete when a frigate was finally named after the No 2 Malaccan admiral.
Malay pollies quoted with pride his immortal words of "Raja adil raja disembah, raja zalim raja disanggah" (A fair king is a king to obey, a cruel king is a king to fight against).
Jebat finally became the hero that he was, and Tuah was relegated to being a small time palace sycophant.
But did I just say: Jebat finally …?
Maybe that was a wee too soon because Tuah has struck back – apparently there’s still a use for disused hero, especially when UMNO needs him.
Yes, today UMNO is the world’s greatest defender of Malay royalty, especially the one who is reputed to have the Taming Sari.