Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dangerous euphoria over 'political' royalty

Yesterday’s top letter to malaysiakini titled No more backbencher’s role for Rulers had me thinking, and I must 'fess up that it has been in a worried manner.

The author wrote (some extracts relevant to this posting):

The rulers have finally realised that we as a nation are heading towards obscurity. They are now really living to the true manifestation of being the rulers ...

All Malaysians craving for unity should show solidarity with the rulers as they are supposed to be the true manifestations of equality, righteousness and faith - all for the good of the nation ...

Although they have played the backbencher’s role in the past, they are now coming forward and we should hand them our support for them to play a more pertinent role in moulding the future of the nation rather than moulding the future for a few ...

While I understand the author’s euphoria with the action of the Council of Rulers in its rejection of the PM’s candidate for a top judicial position, I note that the author's infatuation with royal conduct came on top of several other high praises for the Perak Prince and Sultan of Selangor when the two, especially the former, raised their voices on issues closed to the dissatisfied public’ hearts.

A former DAP strongman even proposed the Perak Prince as an advisor to the PM.

The rulers are definitely making a comeback after years of public scorn at their irrelevance, perhaps caused mainly by one particular individual, who had believed he could still rule as per medieval times, as an absolute monarch.

I most certainly appreciate the Perak Prince’s reminder of our constitutional pillars. Though in reality he didn’t say anything that the Opposition hadn’t pointed out before, but yes, his official stature gave his words more force (and attract more attention) than a Lim Kit Siang or a Nik Aziz could even manage.

But we need to remember Malaysia is a democracy built around a constitutional monarchy, meaning the voice of the people, and not those of the rulers, prevails.

Sure, our royalty as in the model of the Perak Prince, the Council of Rulers questioning the PM in his choice of a candidate for the bench, and the pronouncement of the Sultan of Selangor to keep politics out of our Merdeka celebrations are most welcome. They have both a constitutional role and an exemplary role model to play.

But we must never talk as if, or even suggest that they had been ‘backbencher’ moving forward (presumably) to the ‘front bench’.

That’s dangerous talk, to suggest the rulers may play a direct political role (or even as an political advisor) while serving as respective Heads of States or as the Agong, or retaining their royal prerogatives.

It's certainly a sign of our frustration with the AAB government that some of us believe the royalty could and would be our saviour. We, the politically frustrated public members, are in reality grasping at straws in much the same way as many of us had embraced a former UMNO reject as a political saviour against a previous regime when there was no evidence of his reformist qualities during his various ministerial roles.

No matter how good any individual royalty is, no matter how bad any politician is, let us not unwittingly change our system of constitution monarchy to one of absolute monarchy, or of one where royalty has a greater degree of direct political participation. That will be a idiotic step backwards. Just remember, for a current praiseworthy royal individual, we had experienced a difficult one before.

We should vote for good politicians and rid ourselves of bad ones, but we must never invite royalty to assume a political role, unless they wish to participate as an ordinary member of the public under the electoral process. Let us not throw the (constitutional monarchy) baby out with the (lousy politician) bath water.

Remember, it's one thing to be euphoric about our royalty being politically vocal, but it's equally important to be aware that euphoria will initially give a person a feeling of false well-being before eventually killing the person!


  1. That euphoria is an indication of desperation and helplessness of the populace under a tyrannical and blood sucking regime.

  2. I agree the Monarchy must not get involved in politics as is the day-to-day political fray. But I do not see the statements made by Raja Nazrin and the Sultan of Selangor as being political per se.

    They are realy apolitical "motherhood" reminders on the principles of good governance, ethical leadership and the supremacy of the Constitution.

    The statements have political overtones only because THIS government is so hopelessly inadequate with regard to good governance and ethics.

  3. kk46, if you read again carefully, my concerns were directed at that overly enthusiatic author of the letter to malaysiakini, rather than at the two members of the royalty. I don't like his/her statement of the rulers 'moving forward from the backbench', implying those rulers are or should be adopting a more vigorous/active political role - that's just not acceptable in a constitutional monarchy.