In theory, these ten positions are merely ceremonial with no executive powers. In practice, however, the ten Monarchs wield more power than you think. And if the Sultan can order the police to detain his own brother and the police will comply (read the news item below) do you not think that the Rulers can order the military to do what they feel is needed for this country?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Mentally ill man attacks drunk

(The Star) – A drunk was shaken out of his stupor when his mentally ill neighbour attacked him with a machete.

The neighbour approached the man who was sitting outside his house in Cheras and drinking yesterday afternoon.

The neighbour attacked the man, injuring him on the head.

The man escaped and ran to a nearby police station.

Police detained the 35-year-old neighbour.

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Neighbour 1: “I thought you said you do not drink any more.”

Neighbour 2: “I don’t. I drink exactly the same amount as I always drink. I don’t drink any more than usual.”

Neighbour 1: “That’s means you don’t drink any less either then.”

Neighbour 2: “No, I don’t drink any less, but I also don’t drink any more.”

Neighbour 1: “Aiyah. You ni dah mabuk lah!”

Neighbour 2: “Ah, yes, but tomorrow I will be sober while you will still be…”

And that was when neighbour 1 attacked neighbour 2 with a parang. And what would the moral of this story be? The moral of the story is: never argue with a mad chap. When they lose the argument they will resort to violence.

And this is what we appear to be seeing in Malaysia of late. Malaysian politics is hovering around the fringes of violence. It is not that serious yet. It is still only splashing of red paint, breaking of windscreens, throwing of stones, fisticuffs and cuts and bruises on the face, etc. But then that is how it all starts, isn’t it so?

Tempers are rising. People are beginning to allow the suppressed feelings of frustration to surface. Both sides feel that the 13th General Election is the final lap that will determine who is going to take power come dinner time of Polling Day. It is now or never. Hence the coming general election has to be an all-out race where winner takes all and loser loses all.

And this is why the ante has been upped. In a system where winner takes all and loser loses all, there is no margin for compromise. It is an all or nothing situation. And if you want all rather than nothing, then you need to fight tooth and nail to win because losing cannot be an option.

Have we maybe forgotten the original objective of a general election? Why do we even have a general election in the first place? The intention of a general election is to allow the people (citizens) to rule themselves. This is opposed to the old monarchy system where a Ruler rules over the people.

In a monarchy system, power is hereditary. Basically, God decides who rules over you. And God makes this decision through the successors of the Ruler (in Islam called Caliph). Hence the people have no choice as to who rules over them since the decision is in the hands of God.

Since then the system has changed somewhat. For Malaysia that would be August 1957 — and about 100 years earlier for Europe and 200 years earlier for the US. Malaysia has what we call a Constitutional Monarchy. That means the people get to choose who they want to rule over them with the Monarchy being basically a means to maintain some checks and balances.

That is in theory, of course. But is this how it works in practice? Actually, in practice anything goes. The Sultan can banish the dentist who was late going to the palace and the dentist can be escorted out of the state immediately. The Sultan can refuse the choice of Chief Minister (Menteri Besar) if he does not like the chap. The Sultan can order the detention of his own brother and mother.

In short, the Rulers can do quite a lot, far beyond what their powers under the Constitution allow.

Is this legal? Well, if the Ruler does something far beyond what the Constitution allows then of course it is not legal. But who is going to argue with the Sultan? The OCPD? The CPO? The IGP? The Minister of Home Affairs? The Prime Minister?

Technically, the police or government can refuse the Sultan. In practice, no one wants to be the mouse that bells the cat. Hence, in practice, the Sultan can order the police to kick you out of the state if His Highness does not like the colour of your shirt. And the police will do just that without arguing with the Sultan that this action is not allowed under the law.

Now, the police take orders from the government, mainly the Minister. The military, however, have a different chain of command.

Have you noticed that most times it is the Colonels who head military coups? Well, that is because most times the Colonels are the Camp Commanders and the military has been trained to take orders from their Commanders. Hence the Colonels take charge of the military coups and they can even order the arrest or execution of the generals.

Now, the British, in their wisdom, have made all the nine Rulers the Colonels-in-Chief of the various branches of the armed forces. And the Agong is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Hence we have nine Colonels-in-Chief with one Commander-in-Chief who is also the Supreme Head of the Federation.

In theory, these ten positions are merely ceremonial with no executive powers. In practice, however, the ten Monarchs wield more power than you think. And if the Sultan can order the police to detain his own brother and the police will comply (read the news item below) do you not think that the Rulers can order the military to do what they feel is needed for this country?

In theory, the nine state Rulers are supposed to act on the advice of the Chief Ministers (Menteris Besar) while the Agong is supposed to act on the advice of the Prime Minister. But can we be assured that this will always be the case?

Let us look at a hypothetical situation. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak seeks an audience with the Agong to request the dissolution of Parliament. At the same time, the nine Menteris Besar also seek an audience with the nine state Rulers to request permission to dissolve the nine State Assemblies. And the three Chief Ministers in Penang, Melaka, and Sabah also do the same (but with the Governors of the States).

Parliament and the 12 State Assemblies (except Sarawak) are then dissolved.

Technically, there is no longer a government and Malaysia is headed by a caretaker Prime Minister. The country is run by the civil service while the Elections Commission (SPR) takes charge of the federal and state elections and is answerable to the Rulers.

Yes, the civil service is now running the country with SPR running the elections. And the State Secretaries will ‘report’ to the state Rulers while the KSN will ‘report’ to the Agong. The SPR head will also ‘report’ to the Agong. And the military will be on standby in case the Rulers decide that an Emergency needs to be declared because of a breakdown in law and order.

So you see, even though in theory the position of the Constitutional Monarchs is purely ceremonial, in practice they actually have more power than you think. And while you may argue that Malaysia’s system does not allow a military takeover with the Monarchs heading an Emergency government, who is going to go face the Rulers to argue with them?

Did not Chairman Mao say that power comes out from the barrel of the gun? So, in whose hands are these 250,000 or so guns? And if the current splashing of red paint, breaking of windscreens, throwing of stones, fisticuffs and cuts and bruises on the face, etc., escalates to something more serious like that case of the mentally ill chap slashing his drunk neighbour with a parang, do you think the Rulers will just turn away and do nothing?

I think we should cool our tempers a bit. We are currently only hovering around the fringes of violence. But it takes very little to move from the fringes into the centre. The right (or wrong) words and the shouting match can turn into a melee.

I have tried, again and again, to caution you readers of Malaysia Today to tone down the rhetoric a bit. I know when you can post insults behind the security of your computer without having to reveal your identity everyone can be brave. And I see many ‘brave’ readers posting comments in Malaysia Today because they need not reveal themselves.

But eventually the mocking and insults will migrate to a higher level. And when that happens it will be too late to back down. Elections should be about the people choosing who they want to rule over them for the next five years. But when it is reduced to the level of one race (or religion) ‘fighting for survival’ against another, then politics takes on a whole new dimension, which I think most Malaysians would not want to experience.

Kerana mulut, badan binasa. Always remember that. Don’t test the resolve of the Rulers to end this current madness called ‘Malaysian political culture’. It is not the kind of culture we will enjoy seeing. And as has been proven in many other countries, once we adopt this culture it is very difficult to turn back the clock. Wounds do not heal so easily and grudges can be retained over many generations, again, as has been proven in many other countries.

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I did not commit any offence, says Tengku Fakhry

(Bernama) – The Sultan of Kelantan’s brother, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Petra told the High Court yesterday that he had not committed any criminal offence on 30 July 2009, the day he was confined by police.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, 34, testified that he was neither informed of any criminal wrongdoing nor the reason for his detention by the police in the Istana Mahkota grounds, in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

“I was confined for at least an hour by the police and not allowed to leave the palace grounds that day,” he said during the proceedings against Inspector General of Police (IGP), Tan Sri Ismail Omar and three others related to his alleged wrongful confinement on July 30 2009.

He added that his lawyer, Datuk Mohd Haziq Pillay, was also in the car with him at the time.

The fifth plaintiff’ witness said, just before he was detained by the police he had driven out the Bentley Brooklands car which belonged to his father, Sultan Ismail Petra, from the palace garage.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry said prior to that day his father had instructed him to drive the car down to Singapore.

However, as he was about to drive the car out of the palace grounds a Volvo had blocked his way and the main gates were closed.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry described the situation as scary saying he saw several armed policemen moving in and out of the palace.

During cross-examination by senior federal counsel, Azizan Md Arshad, who represented the defendants, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry said he was not aware of the order issued by his brother, the acting Sultan of Kelantan at the time, Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra, prohibiting him from taking the car out of the palace.

He also refuted Azizan’s suggestion that the police had actually prevented the Bentley Brooklands from being taken out of the palace grounds and had not confined him.

The plaintiff filed a RM150 million suit on Dec 9 last year, naming the IGP; the Kelantan Sultan’s chief personal bodyguard, ASP Norazman Ismail; Kelantan police chief at the time, Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi, and the Royal Malaysian Police as the first to fourth defendants respectively.

In his statement of claim, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry alleged that he was wrongfully confined on July 30, 2009 in the compound of Istana Mahkota, Kubang Kerian as he was about to leave in a Bentley Brooklands car.

He is seeking RM100 million in general damages, RM50 million in aggravated and exemplary damages, interest at a rate of four per cent, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The trial before Judge Datin Zabariah Mohd Yusof resumes today.