An act of sedition

Even renowned historians like Emeritus Professor Dato'  Dr Khoo Khay Kim would find great difficulty in disagreeing that the line of succession for most of the nine Malaysian thrones has been broken and those who now sit on the throne are no longer the legitimate successors ‘appointed by God’.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Karpal sedition trial: Decision on discharge on April 28

(The Star, 22/04/09) – DAP chairman Karpal Singh will know on April 28 whether he will succeed in his bid to get a discharge not amounting to an acquittal of the sedition charge against him. The High Court here would make its ruling on that date, it said on Wednesday.

The veteran lawyer is alleged to have uttered seditious words during a media conference relating to Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s consent to remove Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar.

He allegedly committed the offence at his law firm Messrs Karpal Singh & Co between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6.

If convicted he faces a maximum RM5,000 fine or three years jail, or both, under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Sedition Act.

He was initially charged in the Sessions Court on March 17, but the case was transferred to the High Court.


Karpal Singh will know in the next few days whether he would have to answer to the charge of sedition for the statement he made during a press conference in his office in February. What Karpal said, simply, was that the Sultans could be brought to court. And that, according to the government, is an act of sedition.

I remember, back in the 1990s, when Umno, in particular Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, criss-crossed the length and breadth of this country to inform the rakyat that the Rulers’ immunity had been removed and that they could now be brought to court if they commit any offence, criminal or civil. And, in fact, since then, some have had to face court action and have, sometimes, even lost the court case.

The Malay Rulers sold out this nation to the British in 1946, screamed Umno. The Sultans signed the document agreeing that Malaysia becomes the Malayan Union. Under the Malayan Union, the Rulers would lose all their powers. But Umno opposed the Malayan Union. So the British had no choice but to abort the Malayan Union and, in 1948, the Federation of Malaya was formed. Because of Umno, the position of the Rulers was restored whereas it was the Rulers who betrayed the nation but Umno saved them.

Yes, that was the song Umno was singing back in the 1990s after they removed the immunity of the Rulers in 1993 whereby the Rulers could now be dragged to court. But there was something in this song and dance routine that Umno did not mention. Umno kept this point well hidden. And that point is, under the Malayan Union, the immigrants would be given Malayan citizenship and all races would have equal rights and status. This, Umno did not dare mention, because this was the main reason why it opposed the Malayan Union. It had nothing to do with the fact that under the Malayan Union the Rulers would lose all their powers or that Umno wanted to restore these powers of the Rulers.

Umno did not hold its punches in the nationwide anti-Monarchy campaign. The traitors in the 1946 Malayan Union ‘conspiracy’ were the Rulers. They were the ones who sold out the nation and their race. In the same process, they, the Rulers, also lost all their powers. But Umno stepped in not only to save the nation and the Malay race but also to save the Rulers as well. Because of Umno, the Rulers got back all their powers, which the British took away and with the consent of the Rulers on top of that.

In short, the Rulers acted in a treasonous manner, even to the extent that they themselves lost all their powers. But Umno, the patriots, came in to save the day. And even those traitors and treasonous Rulers who had signed away all their powers by agreeing to the Malayan Union were saved by Umno.

But the nationwide campaign to inform the rakyat about how, in 1946, the Rulers had betrayed the nation and their own race, and about how Umno had saved the day, was not considered a treasonous act in spite of what they were saying made the Rulers appear really, really bad. It was not even considered seditious although this campaign turned the people against the Rulers and, for the first time in history, Malaysians were beginning to talk about abolishing the Monarchy and about turning Malaysia into a Republic.

You can criticise the Rulers, said the then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba. In fact, you can even drag the Rulers to court. But you must not talk about abolishing the Monarchy and for Malaysia to be turned into a Republic. That would be seditious, explained Ghafar.

Sedition is an old and archaic law. It was a law at a time when the Rulers were considered God’s representative here on earth. To criticise the Rulers would tantamount to criticising God Himself. So it is seditious to criticise the Rulers as you would be criticising God. That was how it worked back in the days of jahiliyah (ignorance) when people did not know any better.

But how many of the Rulers, today, are legitimate Rulers? How many of the Rulers have been ousted from their throne and pretenders to the throne installed onto the throne in their place? We shall talk about all this in another article in another time. Suffice, at this point, that I say the legitimacy of many of the Rulers can be questioned. And if these Rulers are not the legitimate Rulers then how can they be considered as appointed by God? It was not God but the powers-that-be or the government-of-the-day who installed them onto the throne. Leave God out of this. It was man, not God, who gave the Rulers their throne, at least in many of the cases, if not all.

The crime of sedition no longer exists. It ceased to exist when man took over the job of God in appointing the Rulers. Even renowned historians like Emeritus Professor Dato'  Dr Khoo Khay Kim would find great difficulty in disagreeing that the line of succession for most of the nine Malaysian thrones has been broken and those who now sit on the throne are no longer the legitimate successors ‘appointed by God’.

Karpal did not commit sedition in February. He did not commit sedition because the law should no longer exist. And it should no longer exist because it is impossible to commit a crime of sedition against God’s appointees on earth when God never appointed them His appointees in the first place.

But let us see what the court says on 28 April 2009. Maybe it will call in Emeritus Professor Dato'  Dr Khoo Khay Kim to testify as to whether God was involved in the appointment of the Sultan of Perak and whether, therefore, Karpal did, in fact, commit a crime of sedition.


It’s in the Constitution

"Sultans and Rajas are constitutional monarchs and have powers determined by the Federal Constitution."

Brave New World (The Star)
February 19, 2009

I wish that all those people calling for Karpal Singh’s head would just take a minute and pick up the Federal Constitution. Turn to Article 182 and you will see provisions for a “Special Court”.

The job of this Special Court is to try civil proceedings brought against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any of the Sultans.

This was not always the case. Before 1993, the rulers had absolute immunity. And before 1984, they actually had the power to veto legislation. These powers were taken away by the Barisan Nasional government headed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh’s desire for the Sultan of Perak to be brought to court is reasonable and allowed for by law. Besides, I think it is a good thing that the King and the Sultans can be brought to court.

You see, the days of the all-powerful king is gone now and that is, for me at least, progress. It shows that we are a society that values democracy.

Yes, we have Sultans and Rajas, but they are constitutional monarchs. This means that they have powers determined by the Constitution and not some divine power to do as they wish. This being the case, surely if they overstep their boundaries, if they behave in an unconstitutional manner, they should be challenged – respectfully, properly – in a court of law.

Now, did the Sultan of Perak act in a way that was unconstitutional when he appointed a new Mentri Besar? It is arguable.

The power to appoint a Mentri Besar is clearly at the discretion of the Sultan. This is one of the few real powers that he has. A power that he does not have is to dismiss an existing Mentri Besar.

Usually this does not raise many problems. During the last general election, we saw the Sultan of Perlis and the Sultan of Terengganu both deciding on who should be the new Mentri Besar of their respective states.

They made decisions that went against the desires of the majority party in both state legislative assemblies. The two monarchs thought that their choices commanded the confidence of the two Houses and were the best men for the job. It was their prerogative.

But the current case in Perak is different. The Sultan chose a new Mentri Besar while the old one was still in office. By appointing a new man, he was in effect sacking the old one. And sacking the Mentri Besar is not within his constitutional powers.

I think there is room for debate on this matter and, ideally, it should be settled in the Special Court.

Actually, I am rather curious as to why the Sultan did not just dissolve the state assembly when requested. All this party-hopping business was wreaking havoc on the public’s faith in the democratic system.

Surely, the clearest and fairest way out of the debacle was to have fresh state elections.

For the sake of continued faith in democracy, I would have thought the Sultan, who has spoken many times so eloquently about democracy and rule of law, would have just said “right, let the people decide again”.

After all, the greatest threat to political, and thus national, stability are a people who have lost their faith in the democratic system. It is only when such faith is lost that extreme behaviour emerges.

Anyway, what is done is done; legal battles are being fought over the Perak matter and that particular crisis will be settled in its own time.

Meanwhile, there is much that can still be achieved. The states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat must continue to push their agenda forward and live up to their election promises.

For example, I notice with a little dismay that the new Selangor government has yet to withdraw the case against Sagong Tasi.

In 2002, Sagong obtained a judgment in his favour by the Court of Appeal which held that his Orang Asli community had a propriety interest in their customary land. This meant that when the land was taken by the government, they should have been properly compensated.

This case was against the former state government and, of course, Datuk Seri Khir Toyo and his men appealed the decision.

Considering the fact that Pakatan Rakyat is concerned about justice and fair treatment to all Malaysians, and considering also that the last MB of Perak was making headway in granting proper titles to the Orang Asli in his state, the current Selangor government should just stop the action.

Yes, the battle of Perak must continue. But there are many other battles to be fought and won. Fairness and justice must be striven for on all fronts, continuously. It’s easy to forget this amid the shrill cries of “traitor” by the ill-informed.