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Is the Sultan of Johor promoting further annihilation of minority’s rights?

P. Waytha Moorthy, HINDRAF chairman

The recent statement by the Sultan of Johor in relation to the constitution has thrown to light for what seems to be a veiled support to encourage the neo-fascist movement…

LONDON: The recent statement by the Sultan of Johor in relation to the constitution has thrown to light for what seems to be a veiled support to encourage the neo-fascist movement PERKASA with their antics based on the purported Federal constitution.

The failure by the Sultan to recognize and acknowledge the second limb of Article 153 that provides for legitimate interest of the non-Muslim will only provide credence to PERKASA to continue their shenanigans hand in hand with UMNO against the non Muslims.

Malaysia is a secular country and in their representation to Reid Commission in 1956, the Rulers have specifically agreed that Islam should be for ceremonial purpose and that they did not intend to make Malaysia an Islamic state.

This was further echoed by Tunku Abdul Rahman, at the 80th birthday celebrations organized by the Barisan Nasional in his honour on 8th February 1983, where Tunku pointedly said Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic state, that Malaysia was set up as a secular State with Islam as the official religion which was enshrined in the Constitution. This is the true spirit of the constitution.

The constitution had been pristine clear in its objective, yet UMNO & the government had diluted the true spirit of the original document with more than 650 amendments since 1957 where now the original Federal constitution only bear a biased mirror of its original model against the minorities.

The very notion that it is amended just to favour a certain parties seems all too obvious as what had been observed over the last 50 years with such dilution of basic rights for the minorities on the basis of religion including the East Malaysians.

The devolution of the Rulers power in the constitution was itself emanated by their own weakness as what had been observed in during the Mahathir era in 1983 and 1993 as Mahathir was able to obtain the obedience of the rulers for reasons known best to them. Therefore any issue of any amendments to the Sultan & Agong rights stated in the constitution was a downfall of their own doing not the public at large for the excessive manipulated power UMNO possessed during the Mahathir era.

In relation to judiciary and its independence, as a rule of thumb, constitutional monarchy needs to understand and grasp the separation of power between judiciary, legislators & executives. The weakness of the rulers to ensure that the legislators toe the line was obvious during the spill over of the UMNO general election of 1987 that created the Malaysian Constitutional crises in 1988 with the suspension of Tun Salleh Abbas for opposing the subordination of the judiciary to the legislators and executives during the era where the Sultan of Johor was the Agong. This was a clear breach of the Federal constitution, yet it was succumbed to for the Mahathir legislators & executives to absorb the functions of the independent judiciary for judiical powers.

If you look further to East Malaysia, the monarchy is a non issue as they were never part of the 1957 constitution nor are they neither subject to such monarchy nor what the monarchy states or intimidates against the minorities based assertion for basic rights.

Bearing the above facts, and as the bearer of a constitutional monarchy for all Malaysians irrespective of race, religion or creed, the Sultan should make attempts to ensure the sanctity of the Federal constitution in its true sense in upholding it rather than making veiled threats to minorities against questioning the malay rights and acting as spokesperson to Perkasa. Citing lessons to be learned from the May 1969 racial riots are most distasteful and insulting the intelligence of Non Malays who no longer live with the idea of subjection.

As the Ruler for all communities, the Sultan should remind the government and umno of the second limb of article 153 which provides for the legitimate interests of non Muslims and Article 8 which provides for equality for all citizens.

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