Eighteen years ago in 1993 the Sultans started their journey towards oblivion though I do not think that the then Sultan of Johore and Pahang or their brother Rulers saw it as such. It was eighteen years ago that the Sultan lost their immunity against civil action and criminal prosecutions as the amendment to the Constitution of Malaysia to remove this immunity was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat and passed by both houses by January 20th 1993.
What UMNO wants, UMNO gets. UMNO wanted to “protect and preserve the institution of the Sultans as constitutional monarchs”. What a quaint way of telling the Sultans to sign on the dotted line or else! The Sultans could no longer expect the government to pay for additional palaces, private wards in hospitals, yachts, aircraft's and cars…etc etc.
We are all familiar with the Gomez incident involving the then Sultan of Johore and the antics of the present Sultan of Pahang whose fondness for gambling and women is legendary but alas, unfortunately also not Islamic. These two Sultans more then any others allowed Mahathir to manage a growing Malay resentment against the Sultans to become a outpouring of public outrage demonstrated in public gatherings and in the media – a classic example of what “political will” can make happen once our political masters deem it necessary to preserve their political dominance over whoever stands in their way. We must not forget that there was a time when the Sultan was an absolute monarch: “He is the sole fount of honour, the sole source of justice and the sole repository of the executive and legislative power”.
UMNO tolerated the Sultans when they wanted timber and land concessions to fuel their decadent life styles, used their immunity from civil prosecution to not pay debts and not comply with contractual obligations entered into with ordinary mortals and abuse their privileges of importing luxury cars free of duty to buy cars for families and cronies….all this were tolerated.
But when these Sultans started having delusions of grandeur in respect in challenging the affairs of government, Mahathir acted. While Mahathir’s motives was self preservation of his own political dominance over all things Malaysians we must give thanks to Mahathir for taking the fight to a parasitic institution within our community that was being abused.
Our concerns is how UMNO is now using that “political will” to preserve and protect Ketuanan Melayu. We have seen many things done in the name of Ketuanan Melayu. Negotiated tenders. Privatization of utilities and massive infrastructure. Gross mismanagement and abuse of executive powers within government to profit BN politicians and whomsoever they chose to share it with them.
Our concern should also be with the manner in which the opposition under Pakatan Rakyat is now conducting itself. They are not being honest with themselves. And if they are not being honest with themselves then they are not being honest with us. They must lead by example. They cannot act after a fact.
Please do not keep telling us of the good things that is being done in Penang. We EXPECT good things to be done in Penang – that was why you were elected into state government by your electorates. What we want now is for Pakatan Rakyat to lift their game and take the fight for good governance to Barisan Nasional.
Start from within Pakatan Rakyat. Make what change you need to make to give credence to your claims for the right to govern Malaysia. I have said it before and I will say it again – take a long hard look at DSAI. If you will go all the way with him then stop making contingency plans should he be convicted. Yes the opinions of the Malays who are in the majority must be taken into consideration because their votes does count – but the Malays will no longer give their votes to leaders who are tainted. Not the Malays who will vote for BN or the Malays that will vote Pakatan Rakyat!
If things remain the way they are now with BN and PR then I know that whoever wins the 13th general election it is the Rakyat that will still lose.
Kit Siang says that he has a Malaysian Dream. Najib says he has 1Malaysia. Tok Guru and Hadi has given PAS the credibility to reach out to others beyond Kelantan and beyond Islam. These are good beginnings to work with. Good for PR, good for BN and good for the people. Now we wait to see where it will all lead to.
We will not have long to wait. Can our leaders deliver what we aspire to? Good governance, responsible and accountable leadership and the beginning of hope for everyone that calls Malaysia their home? Hope for a decent future for our children? Hope that all will be well for this beloved country of ours now that our people are stirring and wanting to have a new beginning in all things Malaysian? Only time will tell if this can come about. We have begun our journey towards a new dawn for our Malaysia.....for now I think there is hope.
Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words: "Wait and hope".
Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870), The Count of Monte Cristo