A ‘gentle reminder’ to His Highness the Sultan


No, I am not threatening His Highness the Sultan of Selangor. I am just giving His Highness a ‘gentle reminder’ that the Royal Council should not be ignored in such an important matter as appointing an outsider as the new Menteri Besar of Selangor, especially if this outsider is a woman or someone born outside Malaysia.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Of late, I have noticed many articles, news reports and statements by Sabahans and Sarawakians, their political leaders included, regarding these two states’ relationship with Putrajaya. There appears to be a lot of lamenting about the unfair treatment they are receiving from the Federal Government.

I certainly would not disagree with what they say because I, too, have been writing about the same thing for years now. What puzzles me is why did they all keep quiet all these years when I talked about this and now make so much noise about the matter?

This reminds me about Malaysia’s poor air defence capabilities that I wrote about probably seven or eight years ago (I can’t quite remember the date). In that special report I revealed how the country’s radar system is inferior and if another country wanted to attack Malaysia we would not be aware about it until Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have been bombed to kingdom come.

A military chap who was very concerned about the matter gave me that information together with the relevant documents. I do not know whether things have improved since then but looking at the MH370 incident and the questions being asked as to why Malaysia does not seem to know what is happening above our skies, I am beginning to suspect that not much has changed since mid-2000 when I first talked about this matter.

But I suppose we cannot blame Malaysia entirely when 25 other countries, some more advanced than Malaysia, who are trying to help Malaysia find out what happened are equally puzzled as to the fate of MH370. Malaysia may have ‘third-world’ defence capabilities but some of those other countries certainly do not (unless all those Hollywood movies are a load of nonsense).

Anyway, that is not what I want to talk about today. What I want to talk about is the unhappiness of the citizens and leaders from Sabah and Sarawak. Even the newly appointed Chief Minister of Sarawak plus the top leaders of that state (and of Sabah as well) are sending out strong messages to Putrajaya that they are not happy with the 51 years relationship they have been having with Malaya, now, of course, Malaysia.

Sabah has its 20-Point Agreement with Malaya and Sarawak its 18-Point Agreement. And based on these Agreements, Sabah and Sarawak (together with Singapore) teamed up with Malaya to form Malaysia. Hence it was a ‘partnership’ between Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak to form a new union called Malaysia.

In that sense, this makes Sabah and Sarawak ‘first class’ states while the other 11 states in Peninsular Malaya are ‘second class’ states — in a manner of speaking. Hence Sabah and Sarawak are above and not equal to Selangor, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

Sabah and Sarawak can bar Malaysians from the Peninsular from entering their states. This is just like Scotland, Wales or Ireland barring British citizens from England from entering their territory. Sounds weird, does it not? But then this is what was agreed when they formed Malaysia.

There are many other ‘special things’ that Sabah and Sarawak enjoy, all allowed under the Agreement. And Sabah and Sarawak are not happy that some of these ‘special things’ are not being observed and their special status is being eroded because of it.

I wonder what will happen if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak selects someone from Pahang to contest the Balingian state seat vacated by Taib Mahmud with a view that the new State Assemblyman, the man from Pahang, would be appointed the new Chief Minister of Sarawak. I think Sarawak will immediately leave Malaysia and declare its independence.

And what will happen if Najib replaces Musa Aman, the Chief Minister of Sabah, with someone from Perak? (Of course, they will need a by-election first like what is currently going on in Kajang). Will Sabah still remain in Malaysia? We would probably see mass resignations from Umno Sabah and within 24 hours Umno Sabah would be closed down. They will never accept someone from Perak as the replacement to Musa Aman.

So you see, whether Sabah and Sarawak are ‘special’ and ‘above’ the 11 states from Peninsular Malaysia or not is not the issue. The issue is, Sabahans and Sarawakians will never accept an outsider as their Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has to be local. ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ and ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ is the slogan they adopt there.

But when it comes to Selangor this issue is not important. The opposition argues that we do not need a local as the Menteri Besar of Selangor. Outsiders can become the Menteri Besar of Selangor. And they use Penang as an example of this where an outsider is the Chief Minister.

In fact, not only can an outsider be the Chief Minister of Penang. An outsider can also be the Governor of Penang and my late grandfather, a Selangorian, was the first Governor of Penang when Malaya gained independence from Britain in 1957.

But then Penang, just like Melaka and Singapore, were part of the British Straits Settlements while Selangor was part of the Federated Malay States. So, while Sabah and Sarawak may claim to be ‘special’, so are Selangor and the other Federated Malay States.

While we appreciate the sentiments of the Sabahans and Sarawakians and support what they are demanding, we cannot in that same breath ignore the sentiments of Selangorians. When it comes to Sabah and Sarawak, we must be sensitive to their wishes. When it comes to Selangor, we must only be sensitive to the wishes of Pakatan Rakyat.

There are certain customs and traditions we need to observe. And if Pakatan Rakyat wishes to ignore the wishes of the Palace and treat Selangor like a ‘colony’, then be prepared for yet another a Constitutional Crisis.

His Highness the Sultan of Selangor has indicated that he will respect the wishes of the voters and His Highness will go along with whatever the voters decide. That is well and fine and in a constitutional monarchy that would be the spirit to adopt.

However, His Highness needs to remember that a Sultan rules not at the pleasure of the voters. The State Government rules at the pleasure of the voters. His Highness rules at the pleasure of the Royal Council and the Royal Council decides who gets to sit on the throne of Selangor.

Hence, if Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail does win the Kajang by-election later today (and which most likely she would and we would know that in five hours or so), and if on Tuesday they attempt to remove Khalid Ibrahim and replace him with an outsider, His Highness cannot make a unilateral decision and consent to this replacement.

Even when they ceded Perang Besar (now called Putrajaya) to the Federal Government, His Highness had to convene a meeting of the Royal Council before consent could be given (as was in the case of turning Selangor-owned Kuala Lumpur into Federal Territory).

No, I am not threatening His Highness the Sultan of Selangor. I am already in enough trouble for defying His Highness the Sultan of Perak and for scolding His Highness the late Sultan of Selangor (the present Sultan’s father). I am just giving His Highness a ‘gentle reminder’ that the Royal Council should not be ignored in such an important matter as appointing an outsider as the new Menteri Besar of Selangor, especially if this outsider is a woman or someone born outside Malaysia.

That would also be what Sabah and Sarawak would wish for and I support what Sabah and Sarawak wish.