Royal Shame?

Veteran UMNO leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said the Perak sultan and the monarchy have been “embarrassed” by the political imbroglio following BN’s grab of the state government three months ago.

He said that the royalty had been hurt by the systematic attempts by some within Umno to inflame the Perak impasse into one of “race and treason”.

Unfortunately, UMNO is not the only political party which tries to manipulate the royalty to serve their own interest. The palaces were fed with a high dose of self-ego and adulation by parties and groups who think that the monarchy can be entrusted to help promote better governance and a healthier democracy.

Not many Malaysians are aware that the monarchy system of exclusivity and special privileges and the democratic system which promotes equality for all are not complementary. The monarchy has always been playing a part in the power equation in this country. They were the previous masters replaced by a system which distributes power of self-determination to the people through an electoral process supported by a democratic system of governance. In between, there is no need to repeat the whole colonial history to describe how the monarchy had pawned their power for protection over petty battles and riches.

The power and influence of a constitutional monarchy is limited by the federal constitution. We were taught in our school that the monarchy's role in government is purely symbolic and ceremonial. However, we shall accord the highest respect and regard to the institution of monarchy as a symbol of our sovereignty and independence. The real power to decide, formulate and implement policies and laws lies in the hands of democratically elected politicians.