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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AdilanClub: Do the Sultans need Umno?

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:31 PM | Best Blogger Tips

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If one were to ask what the symbol of unity is for the Malaysian race, the answer would most probably be the King. It only needs for the King to declare, “Rakyat Beta”, and this will touch the heart of all his subjects – Malays and non-Malays, Muslims and non-Muslims. And since independence, the country has adopted democracy and a constitutional monarchy in governance.

In some democratic countries, such as Thailand, when political parties fail to form a government because of extreme ideological differences or violence the monarchy becomes the succour. The monarchy is apolitical and they remain so to earn admiration and respect from their subjects.

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In a democracy the monarchy is more representative of the people and do not defend vested interests of any party. And beyond that they are expected to espouse exemplary character in them, stay away from lavishness in their lifestyle and should not be belligerent or violent towards their subjects. Excessive luxuriousness of the monarchy would not portend well in a country where there are still many who are underprivileged and living in poverty.

In some countries the monarchy has become a heritage of more than 1000 years. But when countries became independent and started to adopt democracy in governance promoted by the colonial powers, the monarchy system in most countries became constitutional. In some countries the monarchy was abolished. Those that remain have become a country’s symbol of unity for the people.

The monarchy will only intervene – playing mere advisory role – in the administration of the country when there is a serious deadlock in choosing a government or when there is chaos in the country.

For the same reason, Malaysians of all races and religions are blessed in having a monarchy system – the Malay Rulers’ institution (MRI) – that has helped to unify the people, irrespective of their race or religion. Irrefutably, Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR), whichever coalition governs the country will have to preserve the MRI. This is constitutional.

Making use of the royalty

UMNO or Perkasa (a Malay-rights NGO) do not have to be apprehensive of the Opposition and go on duping the people into thinking that without UMNO the MRI in the country will be destroyed.

The common question posed to the rural Malays by Perkasa and UMNO members is, “If UMNO is not around who will protect the Malay rulers?” This is a political ruse to mislead the poor rural Malays for votes in elections. “UMNO is only making use of the royalty issue to gain back support from the Malays,” quipped a former member of Puteri UMNO in Selangor.

The MRI is well protected by the Malaysian constitution and not by UMNO. Furthermore, UMNO is not an organisation that the Malay rulers have absolute faith in. In the 1993 constitutional crises it was UMNO that headed the movement to disgrace the Malay rulers. It’s just impossible for the Malay Rulers to forget or forgive what had happened to them during that time. The wound may have healed but the scab remains.

As a matter of fact, UMNO does not have any moral standing at all to profess that they love the MRI more than the Opposition. In the past 55 years of UMNO dominance in politics the Malay rulers were put to shame by none other than UMNO leaders in the 90’s. This was the first time in the history of the Malay rulers after independence that a political party had blemished their image overtly.

UMNO were excessive and crude in their ways to curb the power of the Malay rulers. Not many Malays today are confident that UMNO would not do the same when they are desperate. A former senior UMNO member from Selangor had this to say: “UMNO did disgrace the Malay rulers before and there is no guarantee that they will not do this again.”

Not given any chance to refute

The government media at the time were used to the brim to humiliate the royalties. TV stations repeatedly showed old Malay movies depicting the “foolishness” of sultans of the past. Their newspapers flashed ignoble news disparaging families of royalties. And royalties were not given any chance to refute or defend themselves against all those allegations.

The rulers’ voice was totally shut off and they were derided and disdained in the media non-stop for the people’s consumption. And most UMNO members were solidly behind their leader in this muddy and dishonourable attack against the Malay rulers. The powers of the KIng and Sultan were radically reduced by the UMNO-led Government.

There was even fear among the Malays then that the country was going to become a republic with the UMNO leader in charge during the tumult becoming the country’s first president. Thus, UMNO and Perkasa do not have to jolt the Malays into believing that the country would go republic if the Opposition took over.

There is no need for Malaysians to push the country to be a republic. “PR is still a Malay-dominated party. They would never turn Malaysia into a republic. We have Chinese and Indians in BN. They are in PR as well. As Malaysians they would not subscribe to this scheme,” said a political science lecturer in a local university in Selangor.

It’s UMNO that fears losing power

UMNO’s deportment on this matter is again hypocrisy. It’s all about getting votes in elections and to remain in power. The Opposition is not a threat to the MRI. It’s UMNO that fear losing power with the emergence of a strong Opposition. UMNO is now in a political doldrums.

The Malays are not receptive enough to all the talks about Islam by UMNO, as they see decadences and debaucheries affecting the party – from alleged corruption to all sorts of scandals. The Malays are even aware that all the denials to these alleged depravities are part of UMNO’s game in politics.

When leaders under UMNO’s or government’s payroll talk about Islam nobody heeds. The reasons are aplenty. There are alleged widespread corruption and cronyism within the government. There is less transparency in the government dealings and many government tenders were purportedly given to cronies and government-linked companies.

The NEP and its implementation was under much scrutiny as only the rich have benefited from it more than the poor it was intended to help. They are disappointed with all the alleged immoralities and dishonesties going on in the party. In desperation UMNO has to resort to their old tactic: Play with the issue on Malay race, Islam and royalty to get Malay support.

UMNO is desperate

Failing to use Islam as a political tool they have now shifted to mollify the royalty issue thinking that the Malays will support them. But will the Malays or the Malay Rulers forgive and forget how bad UMNO leaders discredited the royalties during the constitutional amendments of 1993? This was when Mahathir Mohamad reigned as prime minister of the country.

In actuality, UMNO is desperate now and for fear of sinking deeper into the mud they are making use of royalty issue to gain Malay support.

The MRI is part and parcel of the Malay culture and this system has been there for the past 600 years. It has become the country’s heritage that has given an identity to the Malaysian culture. The Malays, with or without UMNO, will still look up upon the Malay rulers. So would Malaysians of other ethnic groups.

Take for instance Kelantan, Kedah and Selangor. Have these states ever shown any disrespect for the Malay rulers after Pakatan took over the states from BN in 2008? Evidently there is a cordial relationship between the people, government and the Malay rulers in these states. Even in Penang the deference is always there for the Governor. States under Pakatan have survived 4 years of governance without any animosity with the Malay rulers.

“There is no such thing as turning the country into a republic,” said a PAS lawmaker from Selangor. “The Malay Royal institution is our legacy. We will preserve this system as our heritage,” he added.

UMNO has lost its credibility

UMNO only knows how to play with the race card with the help of Perkasa to win Malay support. It has been alleged that there are members in UMNO and Perkasa who go around telling the Malays in the rural areas that “they regret giving the Chinese and Indians citizenship” when the country achieved independence. Yet UMNO desperately want MCA and MIC members to support them.

And today these members are making up a false story that the Opposition will make the country a republic if they were to win the next GE. “They are not only racist but liars as well,” said a student in a private university in Kuala Lumpur.

UMNO has lost its credibility and the well-meant Malaysians will reject the party in the next general election.

The pro-UMNO media will do doubt forever play a warped game. They fear telling the truth that Opposition’s policy document not only endorses and shields the entrenched constitutional position of the Malay rulers but also guarantees that their rights, privileges, honours, dignity and prerogatives will be preserved and protected.

UMNO still owes an apology to the Malay rulers

The monarchy system in Malaysia cannot be obliterated from history even with a two-thirds majority in Parliament unless the rulers themselves give their consent. It will take a radical and communal revolution to depose the rulers. This will not happen – not in the conceivable future.

The constitution has made it crystal clear that this country is under a constitutional monarchy. DAP, PAS or PKR are no threats to the MRI. The party that has a track record for disdaining the Malay rulers is UMNO, not the Opposition, and they therefore owe an open apology to the Malay rulers.Photobucket


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