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programmed by choo sing chye


Sultan Azlan Shah – the King that the subjects love

By: Choo Sing Chye (fmr DAP State Assemblyman)

Making a police report against Karpal Singh by BN MP Datuk Tong King Sing does not convince many that it was not politically motivated until he makes a few more police reports against those in Terengganu who had violated the sanctity of the Sultan of Terengganu and his Majesty’s ruling house.

The utterances of theirs are seditious and treacherous.  Worst of all they displayed their contempt for the Sultan openly by stringing up banners in strategically locations.

Why did Tiong kept quiet on these seditious utterances? Certainly he would have makepolice reports immediately. Why?

What the Sultans did in Perlis and Terengganu were exercising the ‘prerogative’ powers enshrined in the State Constitution.

In the case of Perlis and Terengganu the ‘consultative procedure’ (1) was invoked because there was more than one candidate from UMNO vying for the post of menteri besar, and under such circumstance, the Sultan had to use his prerogative power to chose a leader in the state assembly which he sees fit to administer his state.

UMNO after the General Elections was in the state of turmoil and the only stable institution in the country is the Royalty.

Uncertainty was the order of the day.  Letters of appointment (both states) were delayed as Abdullah Badawi was not sworn in as prime minister yet and it could be another person from UMNO instead of him.

Even after Abdullah was sworn in as PM, a chorus of calls in UMNO for his resignation did not help either to convince both the Sultans that the candidate chosen by Abdullah was based on good character and ability and not a candidate chosen for their loyalty to him (Abdullah).  Thus, the Sultans went on to choose the candidate of their choice.

Abdullah had one option left to throw out the two Menteri Besar chosen by the Sultan that was with the passage of a non-confident vote.He just had to  order his state assemblymen to pass a vote of non-confidence when the State Assemblies in both states begin their meetings.  But this was risky because the possibility was high that the vote of non-confidence could be defected.  If this happens Abdullah would be history.

In the case of Perak, the Menteri Besar must be a Malay thus a non-Malay candidate, even a deputy is out of the question.

So to maintain the status-quo for the post of MB be in the hands of the Malays, Raja Muda, Nazrin Shah on behalf of the Sultan proceeded with the consultative procedure to deliberate with the 3 representatives from DAP, Keadilan and PAS to overcome the problem.

Since the Sultan and his son Raja Muda Dr. Nazrin Shah are highly educated, they would want the best educated Malay for the post. Thus, Nazrin Shah chose Mohammad Nizar Jamaludin.  But Lim Kit Siang disagreed with the appointment and directed all DAP assemblypersons not attend the swearing-in of the new MB.

In view of this, the swearing-in was postponed. Kit Siang apologised and a few weeks later, Nizar finally was sworn in.

What Pakatan Raykat should have done was to choose a sole candidate who they think was the best to represent the Perak State. It could be either from PAS, Keadilan, or DAP (if they have a Malay State Assemblyman) and present the name to Dr. Nazrin Shah.  He will then accept the sole candidate without having to exercise his prerogative power.

In case of the director of the religious department being sacked by the MB in Perak.  The MB was wrong, in the first instant he should have at least consulted the Sultan on this matter confidentially rather than letting the press to play up the issue.  

If the MB decides to make an apology, it would be a noble act.  If not, the MB could not run the state smoothly without the harmonious cooperation of the Royal House, more so, if he has a razor-thin majority in the house.

From out the blue, Abdullah came out and directed UMNO Secretary General Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to make a police report against Karpal Singh in connection with his statement on the powers of the Sultan of Perak.

According to him: "Ia berupa hasutan dan dilihat rakyat sebagai menghina Sultan seolah-olah dia (Sultan) tidak tahu tugasnya.  Itulah (yang) jadi gambaran,"

(It appears seditious  and is seen by the people as an insult to the Sultan and giving the impression that the Sultan does not know his work).

Apparently nobody in Perak or for the matter the whole of Malaysia would believe what Abdullah said of Karpal Singh’s action that would give a wrong impression (gambaran) to the people that  the Sultan did not know his duties.

How can one in a right mind believes that the Sultan does not know his duties when his Royal Highness being a learned Sultan has an illustrious legal background that spanned over 27 years, first as First Magistrate Court (1955), President of the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court (1955) Chief Registrar of the Federal Court (1963), Federal Court Judge (1965) Chief Justice of Malaya (1979) and finally Lord President  (1982).

Obviously Abdullah’s  ‘gambaran,’ does not make sense.  Abdullah had given a wrong picture (gambaran) of the rakyat’s ability to judge for themselves.  Furthermore, the facts  he presented are too flimsy to form a basis to make a police report.

His Majesty, Sultan Azlan Shah once said on his relationship with the state:

          (I do) not like “ the Government to be damned, the Ruler to be cheered, or the Ruler to be damned, the Government cheered”.  Both could be cheered if they played their respective roles in a dignified manner, in keeping with the principles enshrined in the constitution.

The sovereign reigns and the Government rules, (he further added)… The functions were different.  As a Ruler, he said, “ “ I cannot participate in planning or formulating a programme, I am not a political leader.   I am not an administrative officer; I am only a consultant...” ”(2)

When he said this he, obviously had in mind the words of Walter Baehot who described the 3 rights of the monarch as: “ “the right to consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn. “ “These rights confer influence rather than power, yet they are not insignificant.  And the monarch of great sense and sagacity would exercise them with prudence” ”. (3)

Sultan Azlan Shah is a people oriented Sultan and one can usually see him doing exercise in public padangs in full view of his subjects. His relationship with his subjects is close and he once lamented about the incorrect impression given by writers, television and films.  He remarked:

in the past, writers, when dealing with Rulers, tended to touch on their origins, bravery, mystique and everything else that was awe-inspiring. Rarely were there books that highlighted the Rulers' ties with the people.

Even in modern times, the people knew only of the ceremonial functions of the Rulers especially as depicted on television. They had no idea of the thoughts and feelings of the Rulers. In films, Rulers were often depicted as arrogant and uncaring. This could well impair the Rulers' relationships with their subjects. (4)

Apparently, all races in Perak adore and hold his Royal Highness in high esteem.  His intelligence towers high above many.  Plato’s concept of the ‘philosopher king’ fits the profile of our Royal Highness where a good king must not only be brave, but also a philosopher.

Many a time, he had spoken on subjects affecting the rakyat, like law, democracy corruption and many more:

On the freedom of expression, he said that

“Civil liberties could not exist in absolute terms but must, of necessity, be qualified, The freedom of expression was not merely as end in itself, it also served and indispensable function in a democratic system…(Parliamentary democracy) allowed a government  “ “ to control the governed and yet be itself controlled. ” ”   (5)

In Malaysia, the people have misgivings on the appointment and judgments of judges and many other issues, namely the ‘Lingam Tape issue’ which had cast a shadow of doubt on the judiciary.

Thus it is imperative for the country to have competent and honest judges because of the judges’ decisions are binding and “become law.”

Sultan Azlan Shah spoke at the Malaysian Institute of Management on “The Supremacy of Law,” in 1984, he:

pointed out that when one talked of law in Malaysia, one usually referred to statute laws, in others words, laws which had been passed by Parliament.  Often, the layman overlooked case-law or judge-made law, namely, a decision made by a judge in a particular case which had a binding effect and, therefore, became law. (6)

On corruption, he said:

“ “in fact, it must have been born almost simultaneously with the birth of authority and continues to thrive in any society.” ” …We may console ourselves by saying that other countries are worse off in corruption.  But that is not a good yardstick…  There was no easy solution to the problem as corruption was difficult to detect and even more difficult to prove.  Both parties – the giver and the taker – stood to gain and as both parties, in law committed an offence, either would venture to complain. (7)

To end this article, I sincerely call on all whether they are from Pakatan Raykat or Barisan Nasional to put to rest this issue because there is no Political correctness or incorrectness in this issue.

People are suffering and the prices of essential goods are all time high.  Let all the politicians join together as one to solve this problem before it becomes unsolvable. 


1.     Nigel Fisher, The Tory Leaders, Their struggle for power, Morrison &

        Gibb Ltd, 1977.  P. 8


Publications,2.       Khoo Kay Kim, His Majesty Sultan Azlan Shah, Pelanduk

1992.  P. 85


3.       ibid., P. 85


4.       ibid., P. 93


5.       ibid., P. 86


6.       ibid., P. 84


7.       ibid., P. 69