My message to Royalty: ubah atau rebah

When I die I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be scattered into the sea. There will be no sign that I ever existed or a ‘monument’ that I had lived. I shall revert to dust from where I had come. This is my last will and testament.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

No, I did not create that heading, ubah atau rebah. I ‘stole’ it. Many of you who followed the new Prime Minister’s ‘maiden’ speech will probably know I stole it from there. I may not agree with the new Prime Minister on many things. But I will certainly agree that Umno needs to ubah (change) or else rebah (fall). And that is the same message I want to send to the many Royal Families, in particular the nine Palaces or Royal Households of Malaysia.

But this message is not new. This message was already delivered to the Royal Households more than 20 years ago at the height of the Constitutional Crisis. Although the informal meeting was not a full quorum but merely those from Kedah, Perlis, Perak, Terengganu and Selangor, nevertheless, the five out of nine Royal Households agreed that the Monarchy was under threat and that Malaysia was in danger of being turned into a Republic if nothing were done to arrest the situation.

Another thing the five Royal Households agreed was that the predicament the Monarchy was facing at that time was the Rulers’ own doing. The Rulers are the Monarchy’s worst enemies. Only the Monarchy can save itself. It can’t expect the rakyat to come to its defence. The rakyat, in fact, was anti-Monarchy, the result of a very successful and intensive mainstream media campaign engineered by Umno to turn the rakyat against the Monarchy.

I was tasked with the job of preparing the ‘working paper’ to present to the five Royal Households. And since it was my paper, I was told I should present it, which I did. At the end of the presentation, not a single of the five expressed any disagreement with what I had presented. They fully agreed and were of one mind that the Monarchy’s days may in fact be numbered.

I was told to take back all the working papers and destroy them. No one outside that room was to know that we held our informal ‘Rulers’ Conference’ and about what was discussed and agreed. We all went home with only one thing in mind. The Rulers and all the members of the many Royal Families must, from that day on, behave itself. That would be the only way to save the Monarchy and prevent the formation of the Republic of Malaysia.

That was more than 20 years ago. And for more than 20 years I have remained silent and never revealed how the Monarchy panicked when it saw its future very dim indeed. I never revealed the story of how we met at a secret location more than 20 years ago to explore how we could save the Monarchy; until now, that is.

But the story has to now be told. And it has to be told because the Rulers are beginning to forget the ‘agreement’ we made more than 20 years ago when it came under attack from Umno and when the Monarchy faced the danger of being abolished.

There are some within the Selangor and Perak Royal Families who feel I do not have that right or authority to tegur or reprimand the Rulers or the members of the Royal Family. I would beg to differ (patek mohon durhaka). I certainly have that right. In fact, I have earned that right. When we met more than 20 years ago it is because we love the Monarchy. We wanted to save the Monarchy — but more to save it from itself rather than from Umno, which was ruthlessly attacking the Rulers.

Would we have bothered, more than 20 years ago, to rally to the Monarchy’s side if we did not love the Monarchy? After all, the predicament it was facing was the result of its own actions. Sure, Umno was attacking the Rulers. But it was able to attack the Rulers only because they had opened themselves to attack. If the Rulers had behaved, there would have been nothing Umno could have used against them.

This was the message to the five Royal Households and it was a message that was clearly understood and readily accepted. And they agreed that we must watch the Rulers closely. And if any Ruler was to step out of line, then we are to tegur that Ruler so that he returns to the straight and narrow and ceases putting the entire Monarchy in the line of fire.

In short, if one buffalo is muddy, then the entire herd becomes muddy as well, as the Malay proverb goes. One Ruler’s transgression puts the entire Monarchy at risk. So that one Ruler needs to be taken to task for the sake of all the Rulers.

I do not really bother about the misdemeanours of the Rulers or members of the Royal Families. I am not bothered about their gambling, drinking, frolicking with loose women, and whatever other transgressions. That is their business, not mine. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. But when it involves the wishes of the rakyat, then I have to step in. Matters that involve the rakyat become my business. And this is because the fate and future of the Monarchy, and whether Malaysia becomes a Republic or not, lies in the hands of the rakyat.

Okay, I did not say I am a noble person. I am not doing this for the sake of the rakyat. I do not have the interest of the rakyat at heart. I am only doing this to guarantee the continuation of the Monarchy and to ensure that no one starts harbouring thoughts of turning Malaysia into a Republic. For that I am not sincere in my actions and, in a sense, I have a hidden agenda or, as the Malays would say, udang sebalik batu.

Nevertheless, whatever I do, I do in the service of the Crown. But, now, I am being branded a treasonous person, a traitor (penderhaka), for speaking out against the Sultan of Perak. And the party branding me a treasonous person is none other than the Selangor Royal Family to which I belong.

I am loyal to the Monarchy. I am not the treasonous person or traitor that my family considers me to be. But I also have my pride and dignity. I will never apologise, relent, or go down on my knees to beg for forgiveness. I did no wrong. What I did was for the good of the Monarchy. Yes, I took the side of the rakyat against the Perak Palace in the Nizar versus Zambry matter. But I believed that the rakyat was right while the palace was wrong. Under those circumstances how could I have done otherwise?

My family expects me to take the side of the Palace in the Perak Constitutional Crisis. I am a member of the Selangor Royal Family so I must think and act like a Royalist. I must not bring shame to the family. A Royalist stands behind the Rulers even if the Rulers may be wrong. And since I refuse to do that then I am to be classified an outcast.

I accept the judgement that I am treasonous. I will not dispute this or appeal against it. And they need not even punish me for my ‘crime’. As a loyal subject of the Rulers I will accept, without a whimper, my punishment for displeasing the Palace. And the punishment will be banishment from the State of Selangor and persona non grata from the State of Perak until the day I die. This has been the traditional punishment for all those members of the Royal Family before me who have displeased the Palace.

In case many of you are not aware, my grandfather, Sultan Musa Ghiatuddin Riayat Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah, was also banished from the State of Selangor back in 1945 for being ‘too independent’. The British exiled him to the Cocos Islands, a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean, and appointed his younger brother, Tengku Hisamuddin Alam Shah, the son of Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah’s second wife, as the Sultan of Selangor.

Sultan Musa actually had another brother, Tengku Badar, from the same mother, who was the Tengku Ampuan Selangor. But he too was by-passed in favour of Tengku Alam Shah, his half-brother, whose mother was not the Tengku Ampuan Selangor but Cik Hasnah binti Pelong, a ‘commoner’. Musa was allowed back into Selangor in 1955 just a few months before he died.

Selangor history does not officially acknowledge the existence of Sultan Musa who was the Sultan of Selangor from 1942 to 1945 and was the Seventh Sultan. The present Sultan, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, is listed as the Ninth Sultan when he is actually the Eleventh. That is because Sultan Alam Shah was both the Sixth and Eight Sultan with Sultan Musa sandwiched in between as the Seventh.

I suppose, if even Sultan Musa can be banished from Selangor and sent into exile in the Cocos Islands, who am I to expect less than that? I am not even in the Royal Council let alone close to the Throne.

I am a proud person, too proud to beg for clemency. Hidung tak mancung, pipi tersorong sorong, as the Malays would say. That is just not me. Those who know me will know that that is not me. I know when I am not wanted. If I am not wanted then I move on. And it does not concern me one bit to know I am not wanted. Let it be known that Raja Petra the son of Raja Kamarudin never begged and that he stubbornly held his head up high with pride and dignity.

I have always said I want to be buried in the Royal Mausoleum in Kelang when I die. This is where my father, uncles, aunties, grandfathers and grandmothers are also buried. I was told I would be denied permission to be buried there. I would instead have to be buried in Sungai Buloh, not far from where I live, and where the unidentified victims of ‘May 13’ are also buried.

I leave this as my last will and testament. Since I shall not be buried in the Royal Mausoleum in Kelang beside my family, then I refuse to be buried at all. When I die I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be scattered into the sea. There will be no sign that I ever existed or a ‘monument’ that I had lived. I shall revert to dust from where I had come. This is my last will and testament.