Satan Is Never Good

Lee Min, leader of the Communist Party of Malaya in Kepayang, Ipoh, Perak in 1950 (pic courtesy of the Australian War Memorial)

At the recent gathering of former members and supporters of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), the ADUN of Sungai Pelek Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew admitted that his father was a communist and that the latter strived to free Malaya from its British colonialists.

At the same gathering, a former terrorist, Tan Yi Yu, said that the purpose of the gathering among others is to correct the perception of the public towards the CPM. He said that the CPM’s struggle was a war against the colonialists and imperialism; a struggle for the independence of Malaya, democracy, freedom and peace.

First of all, CPM was never interested in the independence of Malaya, and definitely not interested in democracy. Save for Melaka and Pulau Pinang, Malaya was not under colonial rule and nor was it a British dominion. Malaya was made of nine independent sovereign states – all nations ruled by its own Ruler. The British administrators in these states were all under the payroll of the respective state’s Ruler and owed their allegiance to the Ruler. They came through agreements made between Britain and the Malay Rulers to help introduce a more efficient method of governance for the Rulers, and provide protection to the Malay states against aggressions.

And saying that the communist terrorists fought for democracy is like saying Satan did everything in his power to save Jesus from crucifixion. That is how absurd it sounds.

Chin Peng never harboured any loyalty to Malaya. Instead, he said that, influenced by communist doctrine, he wanted to join Mao’s forces to fight a guerrilla war in China. “The same sentiments still applied…I was intending to die for my motherland, a land I had never even visited” wrote Chin Peng in 2003. It means that 14 years after the signing of the Hatyai peace agreement, Chin Peng still regarded China as his motherland (Alias Chin Peng – My Side of History, p.133, 2003). Therefore, how could Chin Peng and his merry men and women have been interested in democracy, freedom and peace of Malaya/Malaysia?

On 31 August 1957, Malaya became a sovereign nation, recognised by the United Nations. She was in her ninth year of struggle against communist insurgency. She was administered by a government of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that was chosen by her people. That in itself shows the illegitimacy of the communist insurgency.

By 1960, 1,200 battle-weary communist terrorists made their way into Southern Thailand. The 8th Regiment in Kedah, the 5th and 12th Regiments from Perak, and the 10th Regiment in Pahang withdrew to areas in Betong and Golok, in the provinces of Yala and Narathiwat respectively.

In 1961, the CPM Central Committee carried out a review of its past policies and chartered a course for the resumption of armed struggle, and spread its doctrine amongst the Thai Chinese which later dominated the 8th and 12th Regiments. They set up Marxist-Leninist Training Schools to indoctrinate the youth, and by 1963, more than 2,000 indoctrinated youths had returned to Malaya and Singapore.

In Singapore, they infiltrated the Nanyang University Students Union (NUSU). 10 days after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, the police entered the university to arrest communist leaders. It was also during this time that communist cadres from Johor, Selangor and Perak crossed to Indonesia to be trained and armed by the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI).

Armed struggle was not the only way that the CPM had tried in order to achieve victory. Participation in the democratic process, using political parties as a front to infiltrate into parliament was another method. In a communist document dated 20 March 1965 retrieved from an Executive Committee Member of the Partai Rakyat branch in Perak, states that: “The main thing is the peoples’ actual struggle, but parliamentary struggle is not to be abandoned because it may be used to our advantage.”

The almost exact words appeared in another document published by the Malayan Peoples Socialist Front (MPSF), the forerunner of the Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), in Perak entitled “The Party’s Future Line of Struggle and Its Strategies” dated 4 April 1965 it states: “Strategically, we should adopt more violent forms of struggle and at the same time make full use of the parliamentary form of struggle.”

In June 1968, the CPM issued a policy statement that states: “In the final analysis, the practice of armed struggle during the past twenty years has confirmed that Mao Tse-tung’s Thought, Marxism-Leninism of the present era, is the guide to the Malayan revolution, and that the integration of the universal truth of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought with the concrete practice of the Malayan revolution is the only guarantee for achieving victory in the armed struggle of the Malayan people.”

The above statement was released to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the CPM’s armed rebellion launched in June 1948 (the First Emergency). on 17 June 1968, communist terrorists ambushed a police convoy near Kroh, Perak, killing 17 policemen. The bodies were mutilated and private parts severed and stuffed into their mouth. That signalled the commencement of the Second Emergency in a 11-year old self-governing nation that the CPM claimed to be British lackeys! Is that a display of its struggle for democracy, freedom and peace, Ronnie Liu?

Communist agents also infiltrated the Labour Party of Malaya (LPM) and the Parti Rakyat Malaya (PRM) making them components of a Communist United Front in the peninsular. They also infiltrated trade unions such as the Selangor Building Workers Trade Union, the United Malayan Estate Workers Union, the Electrical Industry Workers Union of Malaya and the Pineapple Industry Workers Union – all of which had to be de-registered to curb the red menace. They also infiltrated Chinese secondary schools to form the underground student movement as replacements for lost cadres.

They also exploited Islam and used misinterpretations of Islamic tenets as propaganda tools to exploit the Malays. We sometimes see this today in social media platforms posted by influencers and politicians saying that Islam has never been given a chance to develop under the government, and that communism safeguards Islam. Replace government and communism with acronyms of political parties and you will see what I mean.

Nanyang University in Singapore was not the only university that was infiltrated by communist agents. They also infiltrated the University of Malaya Chinese Language Society (UMCLS). It started in mid-1970 with a group of students calling themselves the Young Socialists planning to position themselves for the upcoming election, and in June 1971 succeeded in gaining control of the UMCLS Executive Committee as planned. The UMCLS quickly formed ancilliary bodies to spread the communist doctrine. Bodies such as the Dramatic Study Sub-Committee and the Cultural Exchange Preparatory Committee were designed to launch propaganda offensive.

The CPM link to the UMCLS was confirmed on 14 October 1973 when security forces shot dead a communist terrorist near Tanah Hitam, Chemor in Perak and found a work report by a lsenior student underground movement leader to his superiors on the activities conducted by the UMCLS.

UMCLS manipulation of the University of Malaya Students Union (UMSU) led to the illegal students riot on 21 September 1974. The UMCLS also issued pamphlets claiming that the fall in rubber prices and rising cost of living had resulted in deaths due to starvation of villagers in the Baling area of Kedah. This was supported by a transmission by the Suara Revolusi Malaya radio station in Beijing condemning the Malaysian government for causing the deaths of the people of Baling.

On 9 December 1974, police raided a house in SEA Park, Petaling Jaya that was occupied by members of the UMCLS and seized printing blocks, imitation rifles, boots, propaganda music cassettes and banners.

And in the name of freedom and peace, the first civilian murdered in the Second Emergency occured when communist terrorists dragged a woman from her house in Sintok, Kedah and shot her in front of the villagers. She was a former communist who had surrendered to the authorities. She was a Chinese.

I can go on and on about the murders of two most senior ranking police officers, the bombs that kept going off in Kuala Lumpur, the murders of policemen on duty in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the bombing of the National Monument and many others that occured until 2 December 1989. But all I want to prove here is that the CPM was never interested in democracy, freedom and peace, and those murdered in Malaysia were Malaysians and none of them were British colonialists or Imperialists.

All the justification that Ronnie Liu and Tan Yi Yu had put forth in trying to portray the CPM as heroes of the nation are just hogwash, pure rubbish and deserve the display of both my middle fingers. If it weren’t for the selfless sacrifices of the men and women of the security forces – Indian, Chinese, Malay, Iban, Orang Asli and others, these ruthless murderers would have made it into Putrajaya, or Jalan Dato Onn in those days.

Stop trying to hoodwink the public. There is no way that Satan can ever be good.

Dog Eat Dog

A parade of members of the Communist Party of Malaya

Perak-born Che Dat bin Anjang Abdullah, otherwise known as Abdullah CD, was a top ranking member of the Communist Party of Malaya. He was once captured during the early months of the First Emergency (1948-1960) in Pahang and was sent to an internment camp in Melaka. As the camp was new, Abdullah CD and other detainees were tasked as labourers to complete the construction of the camp. There he met with a Malayan Civil Service official who was transferred to the camp to supervise its construction. Abdullah CD became friendly with this official and they frequently had casual talks. That night, Abdullah CD escaped. He went on to form the 10th Regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya and continued to wreak havoc until the Hat Yai Peace Agreement was signed on 2 December 1989.

When Dr Mahathir commented on the issue of Chin Peng’s ashes being brought back to Malaysia he said that if the likes of Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin could be brought back home without any hassle, why can’t Chin Peng’s ashes be brought back too? What could his ashes do? Mahathir is known for his display of malingering amnesia, usually seen in people who fake amnesia to commit insurance fraud or to avoid criminal punishment.

Shamsiah Fakeh joined the CPM after PKMM, API and AWAS were declared illegal by the authorities. After eight years of struggle, she was ordered to go to Beijing where she operated the Siaran Melayu Radio Beijing Antarabangsa, otherwise known as Suara Revolusi Malaya (I used to listen to it over short wave frequency when I was a teenager). In 1965, she was in Indonesia where she formed the Malayan National Freedom League, when Suharto launched a coup and Sukarno was deposed. As a result, Shamsiah Fakeh was arrested and spent two years in prison.

She returned to China in 1967 to find that the CPM had split into three – the CPM, the CPM Revolutioner and the CPM – Marxist Leninist. She and her husband Ibrahim became strong critics of the CPM and were eventually expelled from the organisation. This was probably one of the reasons that she was brought back by the Prime Minister’s Research Department on 23 July 1994; psychologically she was already against the CPM. Who was the Prime Minister who allowed her to return then?

Were Rashid Maidin and Abdullah CD allowed to return home as claimed by Mahathir? The answer is no. However, they were granted visit passes as agreed in the Hat Yai Agreement. Each time that they wanted to enter Malaysia to visit relatives they would have to inform the police first and a pass would be issued to them. Rashid Maidin died in Amphoe Si Sakhon, Changwat Narathiwat in September 2006 while Abdullah CD still lives in Amphoe Sukhirin, Changwat Narathiwat and is 96 years old. Who was the Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs who denied them citizenship and a chance to return to Malaysia?

Remember how Abdullah CD escaped from an internment camp in Melaka after speaking to the Malayan Civil Service supervisor? He would not have made it to the apex of the CPM if he cannot convince people and turn them over. Chin Peng was also good at psychological warfare.

It was in the mid-1980s when my father who was the Inspector-General of Police asked Sarawak Police Commissioner Yuen Yuet Leng if it was a good time to ask the CPM to surrender. Yuet Leng replied, “Sir, I believe the CPM is very tired. If you give them a pillow, they will go to sleep.”

It was around this time that Abdullah CD wrote a letter to then Encik Ghafar Baba asking to negotiate for peace. The police then assigned Rahim Noor who was the Director of Special Branch then to handle the issue. The police asked permission from Ghafar to assume his identity and correspond with Abdullah CD. In the end, the CPM agreed to receive someone who would be in the position to make decisions on behalf of the Malaysian government. For this, the police extended the service of a Chinese police officer who was on the verge of retirement (not Yuet Leng as the CPM knew him) to pose as this senior official. This senior police officer was then brought to Mahathir’s office for a photo of them together to be taken and shown to the CPM. The CPM took the bait and allowed Rahim and the Chinese police officer to negotiate with them, with Yuet Leng in the background advising.

Spending too much time with Chin Peng can make you sympathise with him easily, just as Abdullah CD was with the MCS supervisor. One day Rahim came to my father and asked if it would be okay for him to bring Chin Peng to speak directly to Mahathir as how he had spoken directly with Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1955.

“Who is Chin Peng to speak to Mahathir? Tunku was not a Prime Minister when Chin Peng spoke to him. Chin Peng is only at your level. That is why I sent you to speak to him,” said my father to Rahim.

Judging by Rahim’s attempt to get Chin Peng to meet with Mahathir, and his recent comment on the issue of the former’s ashes, it is of no surprise that Rahim could be suffering from the Lima Syndrome which is the total opposite of the Stockholm Syndrome. How can a former Inspector-General of Police who was also a former Director of Special Branch have forgotten the sacrifices of the men of the Royal Malaysian Police fighting with this monster? How could he, as the Director of Special Branch, allowed himself to be used by Chin Peng?

And as for Mahathir the political chameleon, it is evident that in order to score political points, he would say just about anything short of “come and lynch me”. It never matters to him who died, who had lost a husband, sons, brothers be they Malay, Chinese, Iban or Indian, fighting the communists, as long as he is seen ‘rationale’ in the eyes of those who had wanted Chin Peng back in this country. The epitome of dog-eat-dog.

I only have one word to describe Mahathir and Rahim – disgusting.

The Butcher of Bekor is back

Six years ago a psychopathic god called Chin Peng, kicked the bucket. He died as he had lived – on a foreign soil, as a foreigner.

Chin Peng was never a citizen of this country, nor was he a citizen of the Federation of Malaya before our independence. He never met the criteria stipulated in Part 1.1(a) of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

Hitler killed Jews for only five years.

Chin Peng waged war against the people he was supposed to liberate for 41 years. Why did Chin Peng not stop as soon as the Tunku had announced Malaya’s independence in Melaka in 1956?

Why did he continue to wage war against this nation and her people?

The British government servants were all serving the Sultans and Rajas and were answerable to the latter, with the exception of Penang, Melaka and Singapore that were colonies of the British Empire.

So Chin Peng was not interested in fighting against colonialism, the Japanese also did that in Malaya!

Chin Peng was more interested in assuming this nation under communism, as a satellite nation to the People’s Republic of China. And thousands died fighting this man who was adamant to destroy their religion and way of life.

For his ashes to have been allowed to be brought back to pollute our sacred nation’s soil after all the sufferings that he had caused, is the ultimate insult to those whom had lost fathers, brothers, sons, mother, daughters, sisters, limbs, combatting this terrorist.

What is more insulting is that this happened under the nose of our police force. I wonder who gave the permission for his ashes to be brought back here. Would you like to hazard a guess?

Chin Peng was never interested in coming back to Malaysia. 1,188 members of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) were all that was left during the signing of the agreement to end hostilities in Hat Yai on 2 December 1989. The CPM was given one year till 1 December 1990 to submit a list of those who wished to return to Malaysia. Only 694 were Malaysian, Indonesian and Singapore nationals. Two were former soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. The other 492 were Thai nationals.

Of the 1,188 only 431 applied to return. The list did not include Chin Peng’s name. Of the 431, only 338 were allowed to return. 93 had their application rejected because they were non-citizens or did not fulfil the requirements of the agreement – Malaysian citizen, of Malaysian origin, born post Merdeka, or post Malaysia Day 1963, or spouse, or child of either if one is an alien.

Each applicant was to stay in the designated places in southern Thailand for at least six months prior to making an application to return. Where was Chin Peng? Well, he was never in south Thailand. He wrote a letter to Malaysia’s Prime Minister from an apartment in Bangkok.

So why should the ashes of the butcher of Bekor, and the head of Malaysia’s largest terrorist organisation which is still in existence, have been allowed to be brought back here? He had no love whatsoever for this country.

And what are the police going to do after this faux pas of theirs? Had the organisers who brought back the ashes of their psychopathic god not committed an offence or two under the Societies Act, 1966? Or is the rule of law only applicable to those not in favour of the current regime?

You are Polis DiRaja Malaysia. Your allegiance is not to your political masters but to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers whom the Agong represents. What are you going to do about these people whom had brought the ashes of the man who waged a war of terror against your Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his subjects?

Your Choice: Evolution or Revolution?

Murdered members of the East Sumatera sultanates, March 1946
Members of the Eastern Sumatera Sultanate killed in March 1946

Malays love to idolise the wrong people.  We name roads and university buildings after people like Burhanuddin Al-Helmy, Ishak Haji Muhammad, Ibrahim Yaakob, Ahmad Boestaman who once fought for the unification of Malaya and Indonesia under the Indonesia Raya political concept where the former comes under Indonesian rule from Batavia, rid of its feudal system.

On 3 March 1946, five Sultans from five Malay states in East Sumatera, along with thousands of their family members were brutally murdered by supporters of the Communist Party of Indonesia as well as Sumateran Malays who fell for their anti-royalist propaganda.  The pogrom did not only end the Malay Sultanate governments of East Sumatera, but also the customs and traditions of the Sumateran Malays.

Those whose name had the prefix Tengku, Wan or Raja were immediately executed, while the Malay population had to assume Javanese or Batak names to avoid persecution.  At least two generations of Sumateran Malays had to hide their real identity after the pogrom.  It was in essence an ethnic cleansing, and was done under the battle cry “Daulat Rakyat.”

I often wonder if the same is being done here in Malaysia, the sowing of hatred towards the royal institutions in order to remove the very protection of the Malay and Bumiputera rights as well as the sanctity and status of Islam as the religion of the Federation?

Once, there was deep respect for the Rulers. Malaysia Incorporated changed all that.  Money was power and that came from those with political power.  Political interference in the constitutional powers of the Rulers eroded further whatever was left of that respect.

There is a revival of love and respect for the royal institution, now that things are going bad and election promises reneged upon.  But people are still confused by the roles that the Rulers have in this democratic system of ours.  Many people think that the Rulers institutions should be dissolved as they do not have any tangible role to play.  The truth is far from it.  Whatever executive powers that the government has, the fount of that power is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The roles of the Rulers were watered down from the beginning – in our school text books.  It does not augur well for a government to be seen as playing a second fiddle to the Rulers.  Hence, nationalism was injected into our history text books and the Rulers’ role in our “independence” was only as a signee party to the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957.  Nothing more.  In the end, the Rulers are now “living extravagantly on taxpayers’ money.”

Therefore, it is of no surprise that the Rulers and members of the Royal institutions have their set of haters spawned by this lack of understanding.  And when Her Majesty the Raja Permaisuri Agong recently retweeted a known UMNO cybertrooper’s post about the incident at the University of Malaya’s convocation ceremony, she was immediately condemned by the haters.

It was unfortunate for Her Majesty to have retweeted that person’s post, but I can understand why.  It was driven by her displeasure of the act by the graduate, choosing such an occasion to display an absence of decorum.  What if it was the Sultan of Perak who was there to present graduates with their scroll?  Her Majesty undid her retweet later.

The Raja Permaisuri Agong is not the first of the first line member of the royal institutions to have suffered attacks both on and off social media.  Almarhum Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak, the Sultan of Johor, and the Sultan of Terengganu were criticised for choosing a Menteri Besar for their respective state by people who do not understand the constitution.  Since when is the choosing of a Menteri Besar the prerogative of a winning party or Prime Minister?  Where in any constitution does it say that?  By convention? By convention is not a rule of law.  That is not binding at all.

The Sultan of Selangor was criticised for protecting the sanctity of Islam, with some calling the state’s Syariah criminal enactment unconstitutional.  It is the duty and absolute right of the Sultan of Selangor to protect the sanctity of Islam in his state; the same goes for the other Rulers as well.  And the state Syariah criminal enactment that was passed by members of the state assembly remains a law of the state until proven unconstitutional by a constitutional court.  Has there been any challenge?

I have mentioned in several of my previous writings that this land has always been Islamic by nature and this was reinforced by two British judges in the landmark case of Ramah binti Ta’at v Laton binti Malim Sutan 6 FMSLR (1927).

For the past few years I have seen many attacks made on the Rulers as well as on Islam and the special rights and privileges of the Malays and the Bumiputeras. Many non-Malay Bumiputeras fail to understand that they stand to lose a lot too if these attacks prevail.

Being the constitutional protectors of both Islam and the special rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, the protection for the Rulers, for obvious reasons, must be removed first.  Hence, we have seen the attempts to introduce the National Unity Consultative Commission Bill in 2015, ICERD and the Rome Statute.  Times are dangerous in Malaysia for Islam, the Malays and Bumiputeras.

The reason for the UM graduate’s outburst on stage was his claim that the Vice-Chancellor of the university is a racist for attending the recent Malay Unity Congress and for delivering a speech then.  A quick read of his speech text revealed nothing racist.  But if the graduate still thinks it is, why stop there? Why not demonstrate in front of the Prime Minister’s office or residence for delivering a speech there as well? Why be selective?

And what has the Malay Unity Congress achieved? Absolutely nothing.  Even the Prime Minister seems powerless to tell the graduate to go fly kites with his demands and to stop being such a rude person.  The PM also seems powerless and reluctant to summon and reprimand the CEO of Media Prima for giving airtime to the said graduate.

That is why I used to tell my Muslim friends before the last general elections – politicians and governments come and go, so never rely on them to protect your rights and the special constitutional status of Islam in this country.  And do not ever think that the politicians are bigger in status than the Rulers.  The politicians only want to cling on to power. For that, they will make compromises and are willing to compromise their beliefs.

Imam al-Ghazali in his book, al-Iqtisad fil I’tiqad, challenged the idea that Muslims can perfect their individual actions and morals without a state that governs by Islam.

The Deen and the Sultan are twins,” he wrote. “the Deen is the foundation and the Sultan is the guardian. That which has no foundation is doomed, and that which has no guardian will perish.”

And that is why there seems to be an attempt to undermine and eventually remove the guardian, so that the foundation can be permanently removed.  So, what is it that we want?  A nation where we live by the Federal Constitution as our paramount law so we can continue our evolution, or, believe in ‘Rakyat Hakim Negara’ where it becomes a revolution?

We Are Not Absolute Monarchy, But Neither Are We A Dictatorship

The Prime Minister has defended his view that the palace has no role in the appointment of the menteri besar, in remarks which are likely to increase tension between him and the Johor royal family.

“When we formed the Federation of Malaya, we introduced the constitution, where we stated that Malaya will follow the constitutional monarchy system.

“The ruler has no absolute power. If it still says so in the Johor constitution, then it is void. (We Are Not Absolute Monarchy, Neither Is Johor says Dr M – Free Malaysia Today, 10 April 2019).

Perhaps Mahathir is already incoherent. Article 71 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the Constitution of the States.

If there is any conflict between the state’s constitution with that of the Federal Constitution, then the matter has to be decided by a Constitutional Court.

Example: Selangor’s Shariah Offences Enactment gives power to the state religious affairs authority to confiscate Bibles printed in the Malay language or using one of the 25 prohibited terms such as Allah. This is in conflict with with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, but is applicable in Selangor until such time a Constitutional Court declares it null and void.

While Malaysia is a Constitutional Monarchy, Article 181(1) of the Federal Constitution states:

Subject to the provisions of this Constitution,” the “sovereignty, prerogatives, powers and jurisdiction of the Rulers…as hitherto had and enjoyed shall remain unaffected.”

The same was noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:

…a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89)

In other words, the Rulers may be Constitutional Monarchs, but they are not limited to what have been spelt out in the Federal Constitution.

Now, back to who has the right to appoint the Menteri Besar of Johor since the Constitution of Johor is not void? Please refer to the photo below which is a screenshot of the Constitution of Johor regarding the appointment of the Menteri Besar:

You can fool the uneducated voters, but you can’t fool the likes of me.

The Price for Citizenship

The spat between the TMJ and Mahathir has not seen its end (photo courtesy of abuleman.org)

I do not think that we have seen the end of the volleys fired at each other between the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) and the Government. Although I disagree with the TMJ whenever he writes about anti-federalism, I agree with his stand to protect the Federal Constitution. He may not have the protection from the law as he is not the Head of State, but his courage and determination to go at loggerheads with the Government on this matter deserves support.

According to Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament Annuar Musa, the recent Rulers Council meeting saw the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah summoned by His Majesties to explain on the clandestine ratification of the Rome Statute.

His Majesties also summoned Emeritus Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, a Professor of Law in the University of Law, who is a proponent of the Rome Statute. Also summoned were four academicians opposed to the statute: Law and Constitution lecturers Professor Datuk Dr Rahmat Mohamad, Associate Professor Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Dr Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.

Only after listening to all above did the Rulers Council leave it to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who represents the Rulers Council, to take the matter with the Prime Minister. The Rulers Council could have there and then issued a statement to show their displeasure at the manner their Government had acted in matters that could have an impact on the rights and position of Islam as the religion of the Federation, the Malay Rulers, the privileges of the the Malays and Bumiputeras, and the National Language.

This is not the first time that Saifuddin has gotten himself in hot soup. When he was a Minister in Najib Razak’s administration, he came up with a National Unity Bill when that was not the term given to him as Chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council. As a result, Najib Razak and the Attorney-General then were summoned to the same meeting four years ago and received a telling or two.

Mahathir was very obviously furious as seen in the video of a press conference made after announcing Malaysia’s pulling out of the Rome Statute, and unnecessarily alarmed the people with words like coup-d’etat to justify the Government’s about turn.

What he, and his supporters seem to have forgotten is that he is the Prime Minister of His Majesty’s government. It was the agreement signed between their Majesties with the ruling coalition in 1957 to transfer the administrative powers vested in the British advisors by their Majesties from the former, to the government that was elected by the people.

This was true then, true when the British were still here, and still true now that although the Rulers had divested much of their independence, they remain sovereign; and independence is not equal to sovereignty.

As a principle of international law, sovereignty denotes, in its purest form, the concept of a ‘supreme authority’ be it an individual or a collective unit and implied power to exercise independence both internationally and domestically.

And Professor Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam rightfully pointed out that the powers of the Malay royalty are now included in the Federal Constitution. They (the Rulers Council) should have been consulted first, as accorded by the Constitution, before the government took unilateral decisions to introduce and ratify ICERD and the Rome Statute.

Other than having the rights to be consulted, to encourage and to warn in daily administrative matters, the Malay Rulers also have the duty to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the states they reign over, the special privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, the special position of the Malay language as the National language.

These are the rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, and any attempt to introduce anything that has any effect on the above, will need the agreement of the Rulers Council. Any deviation from that is against the Federal Constitution and the spirit in which it was made and agreed to by our forefathers with all the parties involved.

And I saw an online comment by a non-Malay netizen asking what have the Malay Rulers done that have benefitted the people? After the post-World War 2 racial clashes that saw the birth of the First Emergency, the British based on a priori saw the need to resettle the Chinese in camps while between 20,000 and 50,000 be sent back to China.

The plan moved at a snail’s pace due to the objections by many, and with the total withdrawal of the Kuomintang to Formosa, the repatriation of the Chinese came to a halt in September 1949 when the Communist Party of China closed off all ports and beaches. Only 6,000 Chinese from Malaya were sent back (Anthony Short, 1975 pp 178-201). The rest were settled in new villages to curb them from supplying the Communist Party of Malaya with food and other essentials.

Most of them had never had any form of allegiance to Malaya, its Rulers and government. Therefore, in granting citizenship to them they were required to give allegiance to the Rulers and the Federation.

That is the price you have to pay to become the citizens of this nation.

The same goes to all the Members of Parliament and members of the government cabinet: you have all taken an oath of allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who represents the other eight Malay Rulers. State executive councillors and elected representatives have also taken the oath of allegiance to their respective Ruler. You are all administering the governments of the Federation and its states on behalf of the Malay Rulers, therefore it is totally unbecoming for you to act as though they are equals.

As in the words of Tengku Amer Nasser Ibrahim, the adopted son of the 16th Yang DiPertuan Agong, posted to his Instagram story:

“Tadbir” must be accompanied by “Adab”, only then will the outcome be just.

So, stop toying around with the Malay Rulers, the sanctity of Islam, the privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, and the special position of the Malay language as the National language.

We, the rakyat, are watching.

The Malaysian Concord (Part 4) – The Position and Function of the Malay Rulers

This article follows a previous one on the Malay and Bumiputera special rights.

A couple of days ago it was made known to the public that the street names in a certain suburb of Shah Alam were changed to Chinese characters, in contravention of Sections 2 and 9 of the National Language Act, 1963/67.

Yesterday, HRH The Sultan of Selangor decreed that the street names be taken down and replaced by ones in the Malay language, which is the National Language.

I mentioned in a previous post that a national language is a tool to unite the peoples of Malaysia. 

It was the intention of our forefathers in the quest for independence to have ONE language to unite all, and that is the Malay language with a Romanised written form, so that the non-Malays could learn the Malay language rapidly (Tunku Abdul Rahman, The Road to Independence, 1984: pp.112-114).

I gather that those were the reasons His Royal Highness issued the decree mentioned above – in line with one of the functions of the Malay Rulers: to care for the people’s welfare.  Therefore, if there is any issue that may cause tension, the Malay Rulers will step in to remind the people to respect each other and to respect the laws.

What I find disgusting in this episode is that the local government, or local council, allowed for the street name change to happen, forgetting that every instrument of the government is acting on His Majesty’s Service.

Not too long ago, all government envelopes had URUSAN SERI PADUKA BAGINDA stamped at the top; that was until someone who was not fond of the Rulers changed that to URUSAN KERAJAAN.

 

Essentially, all government branches, including the Federal cabinet as well as the state executive councillors, are acting on behalf of the Yang DiPertuan Agong and Sultan (in the case of states).  

They are not independent of the Rulers – which is why they are sworn in before the Agong or the Sultan.

The Malay Rulers have divested much of their independence now as they did before during the period of British administration.

However, both they and their state remain sovereign. Independence is not equal to sovereignty.

The British were here through the various treaties signed with the respective Malay Rulers.  Save for the Japanese occupation, Malayan Union period, Pulau Pinang, Melaka and for a while, Pangkor, the Dindings and Larut, Peninsular Malaysia was never under British colonial rule.

There were three test cases to determine the sovereignty of the Rulers and the state they ruled:

 

  1. The infamous Mighell v The Sultan of Johore (1894) where it was ruled that, although the Sultan by treaty had bound himself not to exercise some rights of a sovereign ruler, this did not deprive him of his character as an independent sovereign;
  2. In Duff Development Company Limited v The Government of Kelantan (1924), the House of Lords similarly upheld the sovereignty of Kelantan and its Ruler was not intended to be qualified by the terms of the treaty.
  3. In Pahang Consolidated Company Limited v State of Pahang (1933), the Privy Council summarised the constitutional position in Pahang as follows: subject to the limitations which the Sultan had from time to time imposed upon himself, he remained ‘an absolute ruler in whom resides all legislative and executive power.’ (See, 1894; Q.B 1924; A.C and M.L.J).

The British were in the Malay states to assist the Malay Rulers in the administration and management of their respective states, and were under the Rulers’ payroll.  

The only matters that they could not touch were the states’ Islamic affairs and Malay customs.

Sir Frederick Lugard wrote of the British Residents:

“From the first to last the theoretical independence of the states was the governing factor in the system evolved in Malaya. The so-called ‘Resident’ was in fact a Regent, practically uncontrolled by the Governor or Whitehall, governing his ‘independent’ state by direct, personal rule, with or without the co-operation of the native ruler.” (Sir F.D Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa, London, 1926: pp.130-1, vid. pp.8-10).

One such Resident was of course James Wheeler Woodford Birch who, in the words of Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt, “dashed into Perak’s Augean Stables like an angry Victorian schoolmaster, confident that it could all be cleaned up with a little firmness and decision.” (Winstedt, History of Perak, JMBRAS, xii, 1).

Birch’s monumental tactlessness, especially over the regulation of taxes, drove all the Sultan’s Chiefs into frantic opposition which resulted in his assassination in 1875.

Other than the occasional odd behaviour by some Residents, the Malay Rulers and their state remained sovereign and ‘independent’.  In an answer to Colonel Josiah Wedgwood (Labour – Newcastle-under-Lyme) about the control over the states of Malaya, Sir Phillip Cunliffe-Lister (Conservative – Hendon), Secretary of State for the Colonies replied:

“There is no question at all of altering in any degree, even by a comma, the Treaties which bind us, and which are charters of the agreements with the Rulers both of the Federated and the Unfederated Malay States.” (British Parliament Hansard, Commons Sitting, Class II, HC Deb 14 July 1933 vol 280 cc 1429).

With the Independence of Malaya, all the administrative powers handed down by the Malay Rulers to the Federal and State Councils was passed to the government that was chosen by the people of Malaya in the 1955 elections.  

The Federal cabinet administer the government of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, who was elected by the Malay Rulers to represent Their Highnesses at Federal level, while the Menteri Besar and state executive councillors administer the state for the Sultans.

The Malay Rulers, as owners of this land, continue to enjoy their position with their income regulated by the respective laws, and receive advice from the Menteris Besar (or in the case of the Yang DiPertuan Agong, the Prime Minister). 

This is evident in Article 181(1) of the Federal Constitution which states:

“Subject to the provisions of this Constitution,” the “sovereignty, prerogatives, powers and jurisdiction of the Rulers…as hitherto had and enjoyed shall remain unaffected.”

The same was noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). 

In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:

“a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89).

In 1867, Bagehot asserted in “The English Constitution” that the Constitution needed two parts: the dignified – to excite and preserve the reverence of the population’ and the other, the efficient – to ‘employ that homage in the work of government’. 

The monarch was the prime example of dignity in this sense and the Prime Minister (Menteri Besar) and his cabinet (executive councillors) of efficiency.  

Therefore, the monarch, while lacking executive power, had an important constitutional role.

HRH The Sultan of Selangor was correct in the exercise of his function when reminding the people to not touch on the matters that have been agreed upon and are already enshrined in the Constitution – the sanctity of Islam, the National Language, the Malay and Bumiputera special rights, and the position and function of the Malay Rulers.  

Such action, had the Sultan not interjected, would be naïve and dangerous to the fabric of the society.

In the words of Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah of Perak in July 2011:

“Rulers must use wisdom to calm situations, but they do not have a ‘magic lamp’ to keep unity, especially when the situation has become chaotic. “

(This article was first published on The Mole)