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Perak issue – Why make it into a mountain when it was just a mole hill ?

By: Choo Sing Chye (Former DAP State Assemblyman Perak)

programmed by choo sing chye

Nineteen reports made against Karpal Singh? I believe this is the highest number of police reports made so far, but why Karpal Singh is always in the limelight giving the impression that what he  did in Perak was worst than Terengganu.

What happened in Terengganu constituted a much bigger injury to the Royalties as a whole than Karpal’s comments.   By labeling the Sultan with names that went well beyond the precincts of sedition, the culprits and their leaders had brought the Terengganu Royalties into ill repute.

The media had successfully used numbers as a measure of  seriousness which they had  done in the case of Perak.  It had portrayed Karpal Singh as an insolent and mean MP and the Menteri Besar as a puppet of DAP.   But in Terengganu, they remain mute. There is no investigative reporting at all. Nobody knows how many reports were made and the number of people involved. Why? Apparently, the media is inherently pro-UMNO and its their job is to downplay the issue in Terengganu for it allegedly involved UMNO.

UMNO had a long history of meddling into the affairs of the Sultans. There was one almost identical case happened in Kelantan in 1988 at the height of the Constitutional Crisis.  According to Far Eastern Economic Review report:

In March 1988, the sultan openly showed his displeasure with (Barisan Nasional) Menteri Besar Tan Sri Mohamed Yaacob, refusing to allow him to lead the traditional pledge of allegiance before him.  In December, palace and government fought a proxy duel over the annual transfer of state government officers – Mohamed wanting one list and the officers’ commission, an independent body set up by the sultan, wanting another.  It ended in a compromise.

In Perak, the case is not as serious as in Kelantan but when the sacking of a State senior officer appeared in the papers, it became a political issue.

The Sultan is ABOVE politics.  The sacking of the officer without any consultation, reasons or warnings gave a picture of arrogant ‘GAMBARAN’ on the part the MB. Thus, any sacking must not be done openly in the media, it is not proper.  In any government’s protocol, official matters must go through proper channel i.e., “MELALUI SALURAN YANG TERTENTU.”

How does the Sultan feel  if he only knew of the sacking through the papers? Thus, RIGHTLY,  the officer was reinstated by the Sultan, as the sacking was done in such an impolite and reckless manner.  This is Sultan’s DISPLEASURE!

Mohammad Nizar Jamaludin  should and must APOLOGISE  to his Royal Highness to end this issue. It must be done quick or his apologies would be irrelevant through the passage of time.

Being new, Mohammad Nizar Jamaludin is inexperience in running the government and it is not fair to portray him as arrogant. Just like Tajol Rosli, the former MB is inexperience in his role as an opposition.  He displayed it when he offered to resign as State Assemblyman. Why gives up a seat that had already won?

I contested against Tajol Rosli (Parliament – Gerik) in the 1986 General Elections.   During the counting of votes, he came and sat near me and spoke to me.   I found this action of his, friendly and courteous.   Even DAP ordinary members in Gerik didn’t speak ill of him.  I was sad  he was the Menteri Besar when the state fell. This is fate.

 Apparently, the political power wielded by the Executive in the Constitutional Crisis was overwhelming that it prompted the late Tungku to said that he had made a “mistake’,  According to the Far Eastern Economic Review report:

Tunku Abdul Rahman regrets that he did not give the sultans enough political power. The Tunku, Malaysia’s founding prime minister who helped to frame its constitution, told the REVIEW:  “ “I made a mistake. ” ”

(He) believed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad had set up a dictatorship. “ “Neither the king nor the other sultans had any constitutional power to check an elected political leader’s ambitions if they felt he going against the people’s wishes…” ”

When Tungku said that he made a ‘mistake’ for not ‘giving’ enough political power to the Sultans.  Here Tungku made another mistake by saying ‘giving,’ it should be REINSTATING some political powers. The powers of the Sultan were taken away by the British.  ‘Give’ is not correctly used in this context. Here is my argument:

Malaysia is a political creation and so was Malaya.  From he ancient context, Malaya and Malaysia  does not exist.  What existed long before Malaysia was created,  were several self-governing Malay kingdoms.

Perak was one them.  The Rulers had his own administrative structure and  most important of all was that he had his own army to defend its state.  But when the British intervened in Perak, they started the Residential System.  On the surface, the role of the Residents was to advice, which seemed subservient in the eyes of the Malays but in actuality it was the other way round. The Resident was all powerful.

Then came the fight for independence, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman had  a huge task to convince all the Sultans to join and support the new Malayan Federation, which they did.  At that time, any of the Sultan would have seek independence separately as an independent kingdom but didn’t. But it was not impossible.

Now on to a different subject.

Karpal Singh, had I not known him during the days when I worked for the late P. Patto, as his political secretary, I would have said. “he shoots from the mouth rather than from the hip and without aiming”.   But this is UMNO’s media ‘GAMBARAN.’  It is powerful, even top and middle ranking DAP  leaders get influenced by this ‘GAMBARAN’. 

I made frequent visits to Kamunting with Patto’s family during Patto’s detention, I often heard prison guards at Kamunting Detention Center talking about Karpal.  They said they were surprised at Karpal Singh’s politeness, cordiality and friendliness.At first they thought he was a fierce and insolent man (BN media gambaran) but found out that he is just a gentle,   courteous and upright.

He never lack wisdom for he has plenty of it.  His mannerism is always the same, whether he speaks in court, parliament or to friends, it is straight-jacket like, which seemed insensitive but it is not, just his nature.  He is kindhearted and generous for he had taken up a lot of cases of the poor, free of charge. (I can attest to it).

Another example is Lim Kit Siang.  He is not spared by the powerful UMNO media GAMBARAN, he is seen as a bigot by majority of the Malays and he could not do anything about it.    During the 1990 General Elections, posters of Kit Siang holding a M16 were put up in many Malay kampungs.

If I were a Malay seeing all these and reading slanted news about Kit Siang in the Malay dailies, I would have hated him too.

Finally I wish to end this article with a warning to all opposition politicians - practice SAFE POLITICS*  because news on oppositions are elastic and when  it gets to the table of the UMNO media editor, gets 
s c r e t c h e d !   

So be forewarned.