14 August 2018
PM: Malaysia a constitutional monarchy
KUALA LUMPUR, August 14 — Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy system does not empower the Yang diPertuan Agong with absolute authority to approve laws passed by Parliament, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The prime minister said that as a democratic nation, the voice of the people was paramount.
“If the Agong is given the absolute power to do so then the rakyat have lost that power,” Dr Mahathir said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was answering Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who asked if the amendments to the Federal Constitution made in 1993 should still be retained.
The amendments made to six articles at the time resulted in the stripping of royal immunity and the establishment of a special court to try members of royalty.
Dr Mahathir also answered another question by Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan who asked if the 1983 constitutional amendments regarding royal assent for Bills and laws could be strengthened on the state level.
The 1983 amendments state that if the Agong for any reason does not sign a Bill after being presented with it for 15 days, the Bill would automatically become law. Further changes eventually resulted in Bills becoming law without royal assent after 30 days instead.
“Most of the states have approved of the amendments, be it those under Rulers or Governors. However I am aware that the Ruler of my state (Kedah) at the time did not sign the law,
“Yet we have no power to force (signatures) Perhaps in other countries but not us. This (the signing) is a formal arrangement regarding our respective duties,” he said, referring to the branches of government.
Dr Mahathir noted that since the Federal Constitution “more or less” copies the United Kingdom’s unwritten constitution, the formal arrangement meant that no one can deny the people’s power in forming laws.
“If it is not approved on a state level but then something occurs which involves federal laws which have been granted Royal Assent by the Agong, then federal law usually supersedes state laws,” he said.
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…
19 July 2018
As the Agong (Malaysian King) was set to deliver his opening speech in Parliament on Tuesday (July 17), about 50-100 protesters attempted to march there. Those demonstrators claimed that the Malay Ruler was under siege and has been silenced by the new Pakatan Harapan coalition government. That was, of course, a truckload of bullshit.
The troublemaker, Lokman Noor Adam, was under the instruction to create chaos. As UMNO Supreme Council member, obviously he had gotten the blessing from the leadership of the Malay nationalist party to arrange the demonstration. However, without the usual free flow of cash from UMNO, Mr. Lokman could only rent a pathetic small number of Malay protesters.
During the good old days before the former Barisan Nasional coalition government was overthrown, arranging such demonstration used to be good business to racist and extremist warlords like Mr. Lokman. Millions of ringgit could easily be sourced from UMNO. Today, most of UMNO accounts have been frozen for accepting money laundered by ex-President Najib Razak.
The paid demonstrators tried twice to walk towards Parliament from the Bukit Aman police headquarters less than 1km away but were stopped by policemenand riot police. Many wore placards bearing slogans that say “Return power to the King” and “Long live the King”. Calling themselves “Pemantau Malaysia Baru” or “New Malaysia Watch”, they also chanted slogans and sang “Negaraku”.
After losing power for the first time since independence in 1957, Lokman quickly learned the hard truth that the shoe is on the other foot. The police do not take instruction from UMNO warlords such as him anymore. Frustrated, he claimed – “We want to show our support to the King, I don’t see why (Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is so scared and won’t allow us to go to Parliament.”
Mr Lokman said – “Since Pakatan Harapan took over government, Islamic institutions have been degraded, the special rights of Malays questioned, and the saddest part of all is that many have started insulting the Agong (King).” In essence, the “race, religion and royalty” cards were used to stir up racial sentiments among the Malays.
However, based on what had happened in the Parliament that day, the Agong (King) did not look like he was under siege, let alone was depressed because his power has been taken away. On the contrary, the King – Sultan Muhammad V – was a very happy and cheerful man. Amused by the opposition cheap stunt a day earlier, the Malay Ruler arrived in Parliament well prepared.
Determined to kick off the first Parliament meeting with an unforgettable moment, the King cracked a joke during his opening speech, saying – “The honourable Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) Speaker, the honourable Dewan Negara (Upper House) president, and distinguished MPs, please take your seat and don’t run.”
Following the hilarious remarks, the entire Chamber was stunt momentarily before burst into laughter as the Agong (King) was seen grinning from ear to ear – flashing his cheeky smile, obviously proud of his joke. Now, if the King has indeed lost his voice to defend the Malays and Islam as claimed by Mr. Lokman, do you think he could be so relax and creatively cracked the joke?
More importantly, the King has actually mocked and insulted the opposition, comprising UMNO and PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party). The Malay Ruler was absolutely amused of UMNO’s drama – staging a walkout of the Parliament in protest over the selection of retired judge Mohd Ariff Yusof as Speaker, only to crawl back to the Chamber to be sworn in.
If UMNO and PAS was indeed the protector of Malays and Islam respectively, as they have been trumpeted, does it make any sense for the King to laugh at both parties for their childish stunt? How could Lokman claim that the monarchy is powerless and insulted by the new government when the King happily mocked and insulted UMNO instead?
Nope, not only the Malays, Islam and King are not threatened, it seems the monarchy was fantastically happy with the new government’s performance so far. After all, when was the last time you see a King found it worth to crack a joke when he arrived in Parliament to deliver his speech? Mr. Lokman has actually insulted the Agong (King) with his fake claims.
9 June 2018
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