Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Nowadays we read from newspapers, particularly Malay language news papers, and hear much about a word derhaka. What is derhaka and how it came into play into our local politics or Malay-Malaysian psyche?

In simple language it means treason, less-majeste and rebel. I remember reading elsewhere that the root word of derhaka is durhaka which mean to disobey or to rebel. It is ia tabbo word for a Malay community because they are accustomed to a phrase ‘pantang Melayu mendurhaka’. In a Malay society, it is commonly believed and accepted a tradition whereby even a son could be labeled as anak durhaka because if he found to be disrespectful and disobey his parents.

Similarly, when a person did not respect and disobey a king, then he is said to have committed derhaka.

Our neighbour, Thailand, has laws forbidding their citizens to commit any sort of insult, criticize , accuse or expose their king and his family members in public. It is a major crime and punishable under the Thai criminal code. But do we have such laws in Malaysia?

Some say we do have laws in Malaysia restricting citizens to speak against rulers (sultans). Some say we don’t have such laws after the 1993 ammenment to the federal constitution. But the question we have to address now is whether Karpal Singh, who intent to challenge the Perak Sultan’s decision in court can be construed as treason or derhaka.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, chairman of Democratic Action Party (DAP), issued a statement lately that he determine to challenge in court the decision by Sultan of Perak to allow Barisan National to take over Perak state government from Pakatan Rakyat . Perak Sultan also asked the menteri besar (MB) and the entire state Exco members of Pakatan Rakyat government to relinquish their Exco positions.

Karpal Singh’s action is seen and regarded as derhaka by many quarters, particularly those who subscribe and susceptible to party politics of UMNO, the leading component party of the National Front (BN). Karpal Singh’s intention to challenge the ruler is tantamount to an act of disrespectful , disobeying and challenging sultan’s power as a ruler of a state. Furthermore,sultan is regarded and represents Malays, Malay culture , Malay rights and Islamic faith in this country. So, any attempt to challenge Sultan is presumed as challenging Malays.

Nevertheless , there are some quarters argue that Karpal Singh’s action does not subscribe to an act of derhaka because he is merely challenging Perak sultan’s decision in court.They put forward an argument that Karpal Singh is not challenging sultan as a ruler or his prerogative to make decision but merely challenging the decision made by sultan because, to them it is regarded as miscarriage of justice. So, the subject matter at hand is decision and not sultan.

However, we must not forget that our sultans are the custodian of our constitution. The sultans are entrusted with a cardinal duty to protect the Malay rights and safeguard the legitimate rights of the non-Malay citizens in this country. Another words, they are the constitutional monarch and they are bestowed with ‘ special powers’ to execute when necessary and time warrants. Every state in the federation has its own constitution besides the Federal Constitution.

In the case of Perak state, many are unaware that the sultan of Perak has been bestowed with ‘reserved powers’ under Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak, a state constitution which is pedestal for the administration of Perak state government, besides federal constitution.

This ‘reserved powers’ are said to be the Sultan’s inherent powers that he inherits which he may use upon his discretion at any one time to prevent any crisis that might jeopardize the stability and peace of his state. After the 12th general election held on 8 Mac 2008, the Raja of Perlis and Sultan of Terengganu used their “reserved powers” to appoint menteri besar of their choice for their respective state among the elected members, even though it was regarded as against the wishes of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi.

Paduka Seri Raja Azlan Shah is ruler with abundant wisdom. Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah has served this nation ````as a legal adviser, magistrate, judge and finally as a Lord President of Malaysia for many years. Therefore, we must realize that Sultan Azlan Shah can be considered as a walking library of Malaysian laws.

Having said this, Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah has evoked the reserved powers bestowed to the ruler to manage the current political crisis in Perak. The Pakatan Rakyat government has lost its majority among the assembly members when three of their members deserted their party and supports the BN government.

At this juncture, Paduka Seri Sultan Perak appoint a menteri besar based on the powers bestowed to Sultan of Perak under article 16, 16(2)(a),16(6) and 16(4) and 16(2) Clause(4) . Sultan has discretionary powers to appoint a menteri besar ' who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly'.

So, the decision made by Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah to appoint Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, who represents the Barisan National, is based on the reserved powers endowed to sultan and not against the democratic will of the people as many claim.

We must realize that the rulers do play an important role in maintaining harmony among various races under their care. The High Commissioner of The Federated Malay States, Sir Hugh Clifford has remarked in year 1927 that the states in Malaya are ruled by the Malay rulers who embraced the religion of Islam. It is our policy (British) to uphold the tradition of respecting and enhancing the rulers status as sovereign of their states.

Hence, let us accept without any doubt that Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah has followed the right procedures to make a wise decision and the decision made is legitimate because it was made according to the articles enshrined in the state law, Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Perak.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Perak state has 59 state seats. BN won 28 seats, whereas Pakatan Rakyat won 31 seats in the last general election held on 8 Mac 2008, including 6 seats won by PAS, 18 seats won by DAP and 7 seats won by PKR. By having 3 seats more than BN, Pakatan Rakyat was called by His Highness the Sultan of Perak to form the state government.

But having ruled for the last 9 months, Pakatan Rakyat faced the problem of 2 PKR state assembly men who were also appointed as state EXCO members. Another member of the state assembly, who was appointed as Deputy speaker of the assembly from DAP also left the party. These three members of the state assembly who left their party wants to remain as independent but supports BN to form the new state government.

The four Pakatan Rakyat defectors are Datuk Nasarurudin Hashim (Bota) Jamaluddin Mohd.Radzi (Behrang) Mohd.Osman Mohd.Jaitu (Changkat Jering) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang) .

With this political turn-about in Pakatan Rakyat coalition, Dato’ Mohammad Nizar, MB of Perak from Pakatan Rakyat seek an audience with His Highness Sultan Azlan Shah to give consent to dissolve the state assembly. But Sultan Azlan Shah decided not give his consent to Pakatan Rakyat Government to dissolve the Perak State assembly. Instead Sultan Azlan Shah asked Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his entire state executive council members to step down with immediate effect.

Prior to that, in order to make a fair decision, His Highness Sultan Azlan Shah met personally the 31 assembly members who BN claims has given support to form the state government. Sultan Azlan Shah also met the 3 independent (defected ) members individually and convinced that MB Mohammad Nizar of Pakatan Rakyat had ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the state assembly members.

It is believed that His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah as the ruler of Perak State used his discretion under Article XVIII (2) (b) and provisions XVI(6) of Perak Darul Ridzuan state constitution for not giving consent to the dissolution of assembly and to demand a resignation from Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Article 16 Clause 7 says that the executive council members other than the MB holds the office at the pleasure of the Sultan. Whereas,, the Article 16 Clause 7 says MB must resign if he loses the confidence of the majority. In other words MB cannot be dismissed.

The two provisions in the Perak Darul Ridzuan state constitution refers to the appointment of MB and not the removal of MB if he refuses to resign. But Prof. Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi, an expert in Malaysian constitution, says that the two above mentioned provisions seemed to contradict, so one had to look beyond the Perak constitution and into the Interpretation Act. The Interpretation Act states that the power to appoint includes the power to remove.

Based on the above mentioned argument and legal perspective,there is no miscarriage of justice. So, it is advisible for MB Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin and his entire state executive council members to step down immediately and pave the way for BN to take over the state government.

Nevertheless,the Pakatan Rakyat government of Perak has filed a suit in the Ipoh High Court to declare the Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang seats vacant based on the purported pre-signed resignation letters. However the three assembly man involved claim that the resignations letters were made under duress.

Hence, the Election Commission cast doubt over the validity of the resignation letters submitted by the speaker.With this, the commission refuse to budge to the speakers request to hold a by election.

According to a political observer , there was a case of nature brought to court for jurisdiction in 1983. That is when Datuk Ong Kee Hui vs Sinyium Anak Mutit was filed ,the court decided that a signed undated resignation letter is not valid.

However,the issue at hand is that the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government has not collapsed due to popular mandate but due to defections. Government formed through a formal process of free and fair elections only could earn respect and allegiance from its citizens. But forming a government through defections is not only unethical but invites defiance from its citizens. Hence,it is argued that Pakatan Rakyat or BN has to seek the rakyat choices in forming the government.

Having said this, the rakyat still expects His Highness Sultan of Perak, being only an expert in Malaysian law but also a ruler of compassionate, to handle this unprecedented political crisis with extreme care and wisdom in order to uphold the basic tenets of democracy.

May the Almighty bless His Highness with wisdom and strength to face this painful happenings in Perak, the silver state.

Meanwhile, the rakyat is watching what is going on in Perak. Rakyat choice always triumph.Rakyat may reject in the next coming general election the party which they presume to be practicing unethical means to form a government.

Are BN or Pakatan Rakyat prepared for it?

Sunday, February 1, 2009


The Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) has urged the Indian community not to react emotionally and to stop forwarding SMS texts which incite racial hatred over the Kugan's case.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said this was important to avoid destroying unity and harmony which had been fostered in Malaysia's multiracial society.
"Let us look at constructive ways to work together to identify the recurrent common factors which will moot changes in police custody practices.

"It is not about apportioning blame, but about highlighting general lessons that will help prevent the likelihood of such deaths occurring in future," he said in a statement here today.

Tiong said there were various areas of concern that needed to be revamped to bring an end to custodial deaths.

He said the selection process of police personnel must be reviewed to reflect quality in qualification and capability to serve the nation.

"The instructor and tutor at the police academy must be screened thoroughly before admission and all its undergraduates should not be allowed to graduate automatically, but only the qualified ones must be allowed to graduate."

Tiong said police personnel must also be exposed to new methods of interrogation without force, with the help of foreign experts.

"We urge the police to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation on this death and let us sit together to find a permanent solution to end custodial deaths in Malaysia," he said.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 (Bernama)