Rulers and politics: An alternate perspective

Dr Harintharavimal Balakrishnan

9 May 2019, 2:22 am

Updated a year ago


LETTER | I concur with the statement by international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) that royals should stay above politics and are not supposed to be involved in ruling the country.

From an alternate perspective, the flagrant squabble for supremacy between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Johor royal family further testifies the necessity for the rulers to do so.

While a commoner may have been subjected to castigation or even legal prosecution for passing a derogatory remark on a royal family member in public, Mahathir is able to dodge the consequences due to his political position, accompanied with strong support from the rakyat.

One must comprehend that the definitive purpose of regal supremacy of the monarchs is not only to acknowledge their sovereign status but, also to protect the rulers from the people.

Prior to the 14th general election, millions of citizens appealed to the royalties to stop the protuberant kleptocracy. Sadly, they remained apathetic and it took a former prime minister to step forward to lead.

Rightfully, instead of challenging favourable government policies and appointments, the royals should assist the current elected Pakatan Harapan government in order to dispel allegations on accomplice with the previous kleptocratic government.

The royalty should play an active role to strengthen national unity and stability, through state duties and actively engaging in charitable services. It should be noted that getting involved in politics in order to do good for the rakyat would not be necessary.

For occurrence, despite Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn was bold in pointing out the right and wrong by forbidding Princess Ubolratana (photo) from running for the post of prime minister. He subsequently issued a royal command to deter royal family members from getting involved in politics, and reiterated that the royals must stay neutral.

A study by Charities Aid Foundation in 2012 revealed that Queen Elizabeth has helped the organisations of which she is patronnes to raise more than RM 7.72 billion. The queen is a patron to a staggering 510 charities in Britain, while the royal family supports nearly 3,000 charities worldwide.

It is worth to mention that, even after 22 years since her departure, Princess Diana still remains as a prominent philanthropist, who also raised awareness on many important humanitarian issues. She will always be remembered as the "People's Princess". The British royal family is evidence that political involvement is not necessary in order to be benevolent towards the public.

As the rulers in Malaysia serve as a symbol of Malay supremacy and Islam, the conflicting views between the rulers and the government may be subjected to demagoguery by political opportunists.

The rallies organised by the opposition political parties on the above-mentioned matter may propagate emotions on false security of Malays, which perpetuates disharmony, racial polarisation and ethnocentricity, leading to deleterious effect on political stability.

The unsavoury comments in social media, online portals and websites which scorn and ridicule the institution of rulers should stop as well. The rulers, government and rakyat should stay focused and stand together to foster the nation back to its glory from the damages done by the kleptocrats.

We need to build the nation together by respecting one another’s needs and aspirations. Let us not allow chauvinism, racism and supremacy erode national stability.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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