Selangor Sultan: I am above politics, let’s be clear about this

Wong Chun Wai and Loong Meng Yee, The Star

Selangor will be one of the hardest fought states in the coming general election. As polling day nears, the Sultan finds himself a victim of attempts to drag his name into politics.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said he was sad that he had become the target of groups and individuals who deliberately twisted his words and actions to imply that he was partial towards Umno.

“Why should I? I have nothing to gain from siding with Umno, PKR or any party,” he said. “What has Umno given me?

“Those that brand me as an Umno man, prove it. Show me when was I inclined to be with Umno. Do not blindly accuse me of things I am not guilty of. I have no political agenda.

“As head of the state, I am above politics. Let’s be clear about this,” the outspoken Ruler said.

Speaking his mind: The Sultan of Selangor gesturing during the exclusive interview with The Star. Speaking his mind: The Sultan of Selangor gesturing during the exclusive interview with The Star.

Sultan Sharafuddin said he had now adopted a cautious mode when making speeches; but said he would speak up on issues affecting Islam and the welfare and harmony of the people.

In a candid interview with The Star, the Sultan said he would remain consistent against allowing mosques to be used for politics in Selangor, saying: “Politics and religion should not mix.”

He said politics was out of place in a mosque. “These are sacred places to find spiritual solace and not to sow hatred among one’s brethren.”

The Sultan also revealed that there were attempts by certain politicians to change the landscape of Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor.

“There was a move by a senior elected representative to name Shah Alam as the Islamic City of Selangor. Then, there were other politicians who tried to ban cinemas at shopping malls because they were immoral, forgetting that we live in a multi-racial country.

“Then, there were other elected representatives who suggested that an arch be built over Little India in Klang.

“I don’t like such an idea to re-brand Shah Alam. Next, someone may want to have Petaling Jaya declared as the China Town of Selangor.

“Kuala Lumpur was part of Selangor and we already have a China Town in Petaling Street and Little India in Brickfields; these are enough.

“What next? Create a little Bangladesh when another person suggests it? I don’t like the rakyat being separated into groupings.”

Sultan Sharafuddin said he had to step in in cases where certain politicians’ interferences affected the people’s harmony.

Shah Alam is named after the Tuanku’s grandfather Sultan Alam Shah. The name was chosen by the late Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, the present Sultan’s father.

Sultan Sharafuddin said Shah Alam’s demographics had changed drastically as development moved away from Kuala Lumpur.

“My primary duty is to care for my rakyat,” he said. “I don’t cross the line and I don’t wish for my name to be misused.”

The Sultan said he always welcomed feedback from the rakyat, but this should be channelled appropriately.

“My rakyat can write to me through the palace,” the Sultan said. “Don’t use blogs to spread hatred against me. If I have done wrong, tell me, but use the proper channel.”

The Sultan’s interview was held in conjunction with his 11th year on the throne, and his 67th birthday celebration on Dec 11.