MAHATHIR AND ROYALTY: A BRIEF HISTORY
When Dr Mahathir was Malaysia’s prime minister for the first time, he twice made constitutional changes that affected the rulers, the first in 1983 and the second in 1993.
On August 1st 1983, Mahathir constructed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, which suggested the amendments of roughly twenty-one articles of the Constitution, including Article 66(5) and Article 150 of the Constitution. The Bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat (Halls of Representatives) on August 3rd. And on August 10, the Dewan Negara passed the new Bill. The changes made on Article 66(5) was that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong(King) if for any reason is not available to sign a Bill after being presented with it for 15 days, the Bill will automatically become law. Prior to this, all Bills required the consent of the King to become law. Whereas amendments on Article 150 states that the power to proclaim an emergency now lies in the hands of the Prime Minister instead of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King). These changes ultimately reduced the powers of the Sultans (state rulers) as royal consent was no longer needed in the amendment of laws.
The outcome was that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) maintained his power of proclaiming an emergency but was required to act on the advice of the Cabinet before declaring an emergency. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) was also given a total of 60 days to delay all legislation [Rajendran 21]. If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) disagreed with the Bill, he could return the Bill to the Parliament with his objections and comments. But ultimately, the Parliament had the right to pass the bill again, with or without the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King)’s objections or comments added to it. Consequently, with or without royal assent, the bill would eventually become law within thirty days. [Somun 112].
The 1993 amendments to the Constitution of Malaysia was passed by the Malaysian parliament with the aim of removing legal immunity of the royalty. The changes, which saw the amendments of Articles 32, 38, 42, 63, 72 and 181 in the Constitution of Malaysia, was implemented in March 1993. Before the amendments were made, the Constitution granted rulers who have violated the law not to be prosecuted by the criminal court unless he voluntarily wishes to surrender his legal immunity…
The Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he is not rejecting the country’s royal institution but is trying to save it, amid tensions that have surfaced between his new government and the royal houses.
He said if any of the nine rulers did something wrong, they should be subject to the rule of law. Tun Dr Mahathir told Malay daily Sinar Harian in an interview published yesterday: “We must take care, the King should not be involved in things that the people do not like. The people have no power, so when they are angry, they will rebel. We cannot let that happen.”
Dr Mahathir added: “I do not reject the rulers but I believe that if they do something that is wrong, we should take action to save them.”
His comments followed events that started with Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May 9 general election. There were perceptions of delays in the swearing-in of Dr Mahathir as the Prime Minister, and the appointment of Mr Tommy Thomas as Attorney-General.
Dr Mahathir said these “should not have happened”.
The nine sultans of their respective states, as titular heads, must act according to the Constitution but there were times that the government had to rein them in.
8 June 2018
Mahathir says not against royals, wants to save them from people’s anger
KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has denied rejecting the Malay royal institution, as perceived by some groups in the aftermath of delays in his swearing-in ceremony and the recent appointment of the Attorney-General (AG).
Instead, the 92-year-old who lived to become prime minister twice asserted that his controversial actions after the May 9 General Election have strictly adhered to the law, as he wishes to save the royal institution, Sinar Harian reported on Friday (June 8).
“I do not reject the rulers but I believe that if the monarchs do something that is wrong, we should take action to save them.”
“We have laws that include the set-up of a special court for the Rulers,” he told the Malay daily in an interview conducted at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Thursday.
He was asked what he can do to guarantee good relations with the Rulers, government and rakyat.
Dr Mahathir said that care must be taken to prevent the royal institution’s reputation from being tarnished.
“We must take care. Rulers should not be involved in things that the people dislike. The people have no power but when they are angry, they will rebel,” he was quoted saying.
In his interview with Sinar Harian, Dr Mahathir reiterated that the Federal Constitution and the country’s laws are paramount, and said even the Rulers are subject to them.
“We want to return to the rule of law. When something happens that does not follow the law, then there will be anger,” he told the paper, alluding to the hours-long delay on May 10 before he was sworn in as the seventh prime minister and leader of the Pakatan Harapan pact at 9.30pm that day.
Dr Mahathir said the delay in his swearing-in ceremony should not have happened. Similarly, he indicated that the days-long delay in the appointment of senior private lawyer Tommy Thomas as AG to replace Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali was unnecessary.
But Dr Mahathir believes most of the nine Malay Sultans and Rajas who make up the Conference of Rulers are aware of the need for the country to abide by the rule of law.
“But I feel the Rulers realise this because many of them are making effort to ensure they and the Agong abide by the law.
The Straits Times
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is at loggerheads again with the country’s royals, this time over his appointment of a non-Malay as attorney-general.
Tun Dr Mahathir had, during his first stint as premier from 1981 to 2003, pushed back royal powers twice. However, the current clash comes as Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim is establishing closer relations with the palaces.
The Straits Times
Mahathir clashes with the royals over pick for A-G
Selection of non-Malay does not sit well with the rulers, even as Anwar moves closer to them