Jun 16, 2014


The debate about who should be in charge of the welfare of the people, the answer will be the rulers. But when rulers themselves are denied or deprived of such role why blame the rulers? Yes I am talking about the sultans and their empowerment. Of late the criticism against this august institution has been hiked and spiked by some vested groups who want to make Malaysia a Republic following the model of my beloved country.  In their zeal to expedite the realization of their dream many of them have tried to caste aspersion against the sultans and their families. No doubt they are humans, as such they are up to err. That does not mean that one should have the liberty to insult them with vulgarity.

The recent statements coming out from the Johor palace is amazing. Being Singaporeans we are used to such statements coming from the Johor Sultan from time to time. The other time we remember was when his late father landed his helicopter on an island belonging to Singapore. Now the current sultan of Johor has called into question the stopping of the crooked bridge and losing the ICJ's case on Pulau Batu Puteh. He claims that he was not consulted and that a third party meddling was there. As such he demands a revisit on the issues. My concern is that my beloved country will have to cough out more in settlement to keep the Sultan happier. Otherwise he will keep revisiting the various bilateral agreements which by-passed his notice.

It is good to know that the Sultan is reasserting his responsibility in knowing what is happening to his state, as he feels that many things have been done without his knowledge and that many have second-guessed him in many vitally important decisions concerning his state and people. I think it is high time the Sultans are given more roles to play by getting actively involved in the welfare of the people so that non-partisan and transparent justice could be delivered. Public housing and basic amenities of the people must be given to the state institution headed by the Sultan himself. Let the political parties work towards bringing in more investments that will increase the public coffers which will be managed by the institutions headed by the Sultan. He should appoint qualified people regardless of their political inclination to the committee so that fairness is done to the public.

He was right in demanding such a review because significant parcels of lands are developed to be given to foreigners at the expense of the locals who find the pricing of houses prohibitive. I know of many of my countrymen buying houses and properties in Johor for a fraction. Some of them are taxi drivers in Singapore having two bungalows and that too in prime areas. Some non-Muslim friends are using their Muslim friends to buy houses there as well. Even if the price of the property is raised from 500k to 1 million Malaysian Ringgit will not stop Singaporean from buying properties there. Very soon the Sultan will find that most of his people are staying on boat floating on the numerous rivers and he may have to visit them on raft and not on his Harvey Davidson or even by train.

According to Walter Bagehot "The Sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy, three rights - the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn. And a king of great sense and sagacity would want no others." True to this the Sultan was absolutely right in raising the issue as he cannot encourage or warn his people if he is not consulted. So let the state administration consult him in any and all matters concerning his state, as he is answerable to his subject. He is not a mere ceremonial figure head.


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