Tales from around the palaces

Are these DAP people dressed in a coat and tie pretending that they were born in England and are Mat Sallehs? Bananas maybe — yellow on the outside and white on the inside — but certainly far from Englishmen in spite of the badly fitting coat and tie that they are wearing.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Three days ago, Umno-owned newspaper New Straits Times (NST) reported that a Datuk tried to bribe the Sultan of Johor with RM1.01 million in cash on the eve of Hari Raya. Who is this Datuk who NST said is a prominent businessman?

I also wonder what the significance of 1.01 is. I know that secret societies use this ‘code’. And those who believe in fengshui also have ‘special numbers’ that they use. So I am very curious as to why this businessman paid the sultan RM1.01 million — and even more curious as to whom he is.

Anyway, as usual, I did some digging and was told that the businessman not mentioned by name in the NST report is actually Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary. But then Syed Mokhtar is a Tan Sri, not a Datuk. Is that why NST used inverted commas for ‘Datuk’? Or did NST get it wrong or was trying to cover up for the ‘Datuk’?

If this was my son they would not only mention his name but would add ‘the son of Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’ to make sure that everyone would know exactly who they mean. Why hide the name of the person who bribed the Sultan of Johor and even mislead us by saying ‘Datuk’ instead of ‘Tan Sri’, which would help us narrow it down to the person involved.

Invariably, there are not too many Tan Sris around compared to Datuks. So if they had used ‘Tan Sri’ instead of ‘Datuk’ then many would have been able to guess who the culprit is.

I doubt my source could be wrong about the person being Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary. My source is the same person who told me the story about Syed Hamid Albar having an audience with the late Sultan of Johor and the Sultan told him to remove his songkok.

Syed Hamid did as he was told and the Sultan quipped: ada banyak pasir (meaning in his songkok). The Sultan was of course referring to the fact the Syed Hamid and his family are involved in selling sand to Singapore. This was the Sultan’s way of telling Syed Hamid that he is aware of it.

Another controversy involving Selangor EXCO Member Ronnie Liu has surfaced. This time it involves him attending the Selangor Sultan’s Hari Raya open house dressed in Baju Melayu (Malay dress or national costume).

Text messages are floating around condemning Ronnie Liu for it. Although the source of these text messages has not been identified we can all guess who is behind them — his enemies in DAP.

Ronnie has used Malay dress before. So has DAP Member of Parliament Teresa Kok. And so have a few other PKR Chinese leaders such as Tian Chua. Why is it only wrong for Ronnie to wear Baju Melayu on Hari Raya day? Why is it not wrong for the others?

These critics of Ronnie are saying that he is a traitor to the Chinese race for wearing Baju Melayu. No wonder Hindraf calls DAP a racist party. Well, I too use Chinese costume during Chinese New Year. How come the DAP people think this is cute? Why has DAP not condemned me for being a traitor to my Malay race?

I notice that all the DAP people also wear a coat and tie. This is mark of British Colonialism. Are these DAP people trying to ape the kwailo? Some of these DAP people look and talk like apek pork sellers. Takde gaya langsung. They look like jokers dressed in a coat and tie when they can’t even speak English well.

Are these DAP people dressed in a coat and tie pretending that they were born in England and are Mat Sallehs? Bananas maybe — yellow on the outside and white on the inside — but certainly far from Englishmen in spite of the badly fitting coat and tie that they are wearing.

Ronnie also uses Indian costume during Deepavali. But they don’t whack him for wearing Indian costumes. They only whack him when he uses Malay dress or national costume. And some PKR Chinese also wear Malay dress for Hari Raya. And does not Teresa Kok and many other DAP women also use Malay dress, not only during Hari Raya but for other occasions as well?

Here we are fighting for a better government; more transparency and accountability; an end to corruption and abuse of power; freedom of expression, association and assembly; an end to police brutality and extrajudicial killings; and much more; and some DAP people are more concerned with what clothes Ronnie wears on Hari Raya.

Bodoh punya Cina.

I reserve judgement on the Kelantan palace crisis for the meantime. Currently, some say that Kelantan now has two sultans. Others say that the appointment of the new sultan is legitimate — since it was done by the royal council, the body that decides on the succession. Then there are others who say that it is not legitimate and that the old sultan is still sultan since a new sultan can only be appointed when the reigning sultan dies.

Whatever it may be, it all boils down to the State Constitution and it appears that the Constitution has recently been amended to allow the royal council to appoint a new sultan in the event the reigning sultan is incapacitated. In that case there should be no dispute as to whether the new sultan is legitimate since it is within the powers of the royal council to decide on the matter.

Anyway, what should be more of concern would be the peoples’ sentiment about the sultanate or monarchy. The older generation is of course still pro-monarchy. But the younger generation has no love for the royal households, for obvious reasons. And the old people are dying off while the new generation, those born after Merdeka, is increasing. A decade or two from now and there would be very few Malaysians who would see the need for Malaysia to retain the sultanate.

This is where the focus must lie. Unless the present monarchs are able to behave themselves and prove that the monarchy is still relevant, there would be a danger that Malaysians, Malays included, would want to opt for a republic after 2020 or so.

The future of the monarchy is in the hands of the Rulers. If they want the monarchy to end upon their deaths then well and fine. But if they wish for the throne to be handed over to their heirs then they would need to feel the pulse of the nation and come to terms with the fact that the monarchy is facing its greatest challenge ever.

Even Britain is facing the same problem. Will the British Monarchy end after the death of the Queen, or maybe continue for just another generation before we see the birth of the Republic of Britain? And there is no longer any sedition laws in Britain so free debate as to the future of the British Monarchy will not result in you being sent to jail.

Obviously I am a royalist at heart. But I am also a realist. So while my heart is with the monarchy, my head tells me that nothing is forever. I just hope I am dead and buried before we see the death of the monarchy, as I would not want to be around to see this. But then the future is in the hands of the Rulers themselves so only they can decide how they want the future to unfold.


Bid to bribe Johor sultan

By Ben Tan, New Straits Times

JOHOR BARU: A “Datuk” who angered the Sultan of Johor on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri has been remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for attempting to bribe the ruler with more than RM1 million cash.

It is learnt the suspect, who is in his 50s, attempted to pass two bags containing exactly RM1.01 million cash to the sultan at Istana Tanjung in Muar on Thursday night as an inducement for favours.

However, it is not known what the inducement was for as those familiar with the investigations are keeping mum on the incident which was reported to the authorities at about 9.30pm.

Johor Council of Royal Court secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli, who confirmed the incident, said the “Datuk” had earlier requested to have an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at the palace in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations the next day.

The ruler was also scheduled to have an official open house at the palace in Muar the next day, which was to be an important state function.

“Tuanku told me to look into the matter and upon meeting him, the representative claimed that he represented a prominent businessman before attempting to pass the two bags (to me),” Rahim told the New Straits Times yesterday.

He said the “Datuk” explained that the two bags were Hari Raya goodies for the sultan.

He said that it was later revealed to him that the bags contained the cash in RM100 bills, which was to be given to the sultan and his children as “Hari Raya expenses”.

Rahim said he then relayed the incident to the sultan who was visibly upset with the disrespectful actions of the “Datuk”.

“Tuanku immediately ordered me to lodge a police report on the matter as His Royal Highness was displeased with the actions of the man who had attempted to bribe him and his family on such an auspicious occasion.|”

Police arrested the suspect who was later handed over to an MACC team and was brought to the commission’s state headquarters in Johor Baru.

It is understood that investigations into the bribery attempt will focus on the motive of the suspect, his Datukship and also his background.

Rahim said Sultan Ibrahim was “very displeased” with such actions and would not hesitate to take action against anyone trying to bribe him.

“This latest incident shows that bribery does not get you anywhere,” he said, adding that the public should be respectful of the sultan and the royal institution by refraining from offering any form of bribes.

Rahim also stressed that the suspect’s “Datuk” title was not from the Sultan of Johor as “those bestowed with Datukships by the state will carry themselves with decorum and respect”. A senior Johor police officer, who is familiar with the state palace protocol, confirmed that a report had been lodged, but stressed that the case was under the jurisdiction of the MACC.

“As a matter of procedure, we have been alerted on the incident which is being investigated by the state MACC,” he said.

Johor MACC director Simi Abdul Ghani, when contacted, confirmed a report was lodged with the commission, but declined to comment further.