The reason we do not need a Mahathir-led opposition
I support the new law that gives wide powers to the Prime Minister to suspend Parliament and suspend Democracy and declare an Emergency and install Military Rule if need be. It is what you get for clapping and cheering 30 years ago when Mahathir removed the powers of the Monarchy to allow whoever becomes the Prime Minister to become an autocrat.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Being the opposition is not just about looking for the faults of the ruling party and then screaming high and low at every ceramah about how bad and evil the government is. An opposition is in essence a government-in-waiting. They are the people who will form the alternative government to the present government. So we need to know what they would do if they did win the general election and were given the mandate to form the next or new government.
The opposition for so long has just been the critic of the system and when they eventually do take over any of the states and get to form the state government they do not know how to stop being the opposition and how to act like a government. They continue to moan, groan, complain, bitch and grumble. And that is why you find they cannot work together but keep quarrelling with one another. Fighting is in their DNA and they can never stop fighting even when they are the government.
The opposition is like a crab. They feed on dead things. They walk sideways and yet tell others that they must walk straight. And then when trapped in a basket while awaiting death, the other crabs will pull down any crab that tries to escape from the basket. So no one gets out. All will eventually die.
The Amanah Member of Parliament for Kuala Terengganu, Raja Bahrin Shah, was comparing the Prime Minister to the Rulers and said that even the Rulers do not spend as much money as the First Family. That is a very dangerous way of arguing or debating because if one bright spark were to korek how much the Monarchy of ten Rulers (one Agong, one Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, one Raja of Perlis, and seven Sultans) cost the nation in total, we are going to have a Second Constitutional Crisis on our hands.
Even here in the UK the Republican movement is very active (although more than 80% of the British still want to retain the Monarchy). And their platform for opposing the Monarchy is the cost to the nation. The Republicans feel that a Monarchy is a waste of money that cannot be justified. And when people oppose the Malaysian Monarchy it is for the same reason (the cost to the nation) with maybe political interference as the second reason.
Raja Bahrin is still quite a greenhorn in politics so he may not realise that his strategy of using the Rulers (low cost) to criticise Rosmah Mansor (high cost) could backfire and have adverse repercussions on the Monarchy. All someone needs to do is to publish the large number of tax-free cars that the Rulers and the Regents are allowed and that alone in terms of ‘tax loss’ to the country would be quite huge, especially if you calculate the cost from the beginning, say Merdeka.
So when we calculate cost it will not just be the direct salaries and allowances. It will also be the hidden costs, which normally would be far higher than the direct costs. Just take one example, security. How much does security alone cost? Then we have the cost of the staff. How many people are involved in running and maintaining the palaces and offices of the ten Rulers? And some Rulers have more than one palace/office so we may be talking about the cost of two or three-dozen palaces/offices with all the staff involved.
Raja Bahrin is a Member of Parliament so he should know (and if he does not then he is a useless MP) the annual cost, direct and indirect, to maintain the ten Rulers and the entire retinue of staff. When Raja Bahrin criticises the cost of the Prime Minister and then raises the issue of the cost of the Monarchy in his argument, he is stepping into very dangerous ground here. He is opening the jalan for people to now talk about the cost of the Monarchy to see whether it is larger than what Raja Bahrin says.
Raja Bahrin, don’t play with fire, lah, because fire can burn!
But then is Raja Bahrin intentionally doing this? I was told Raja Bahrin is openly criticising his cousin, HRH the Sultan of Terengganu, especially regarding the more than RM1 billion palace that Raja Bahrin is very unhappy about. So is Raja Bahrin actually trying to buka jalan for people to raise the issue of the over-priced Terengganu palace?
So does Raja Bahrin have a matlamat tersirat in his matlamat tersurat? Is this strategy about comparing the ‘low cost’ of the Monarchy to the ‘high cost’ of the First Family meant to open the way for others to contradict his argument and point out that the Monarchy is actually a far higher cost?
Anyway, what Raja Bahrin says is contradictory to what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says. So maybe Raja Bahrin would like to refer to his de facto Opposition Leader and ask the old man about what he said 30 years ago. This would mean either Raja Bahrin is lying today or Mahathir lied 30 years ago. One of them is lying and we need to know which one because Raja Bahrin is the head of PAN Terengganu.
And on the other matter, it was Raja Bahrin’s boss, Mahathir, who amended the Constitution so that the Rulers’ assent is no longer required for any Bills to be passed into law and even if the Rulers do not agree and do not sign the Bill it will still automatically be passed into law anyway.
This was why many of us were against what was known then as ‘The Constitutional Crisis’. Technically, this meant that whoever is the Prime Minister would be able to rule the country as a dictator and there was nothing the other three branches of government could do (Legislature, Judiciary and Monarchy).
If Raja Bahrin can remember, he was also one of those who back in the late 1980s, together with me, opposed that amendment (remember our meeting in Kedah House in Penang?) that gave absolute power to Parliament to override the Rulers. And the reason we opposed it (and, of course, opposed Mahathir) was because we wanted to retain the checks and balances that the Monarchy offered.
Can Raja Bahrin also remember (and he surely can because he was involved at that time) that PAS was the only party (with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as well) that defended the Monarchy against Mahathir’s onslaught? Forget about the other parties in Barisan Nasional, whether MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP, or whatever. Not only those non-Malay parties in Barisan Nasional but also parties such as DAP, PRM, and so on, did not side with the Rulers.
What really made me pissed was the fact that the non-Malays in Barisan Nasional as well as those in the opposition (other than PAS) were clapping and cheering when Mahathir attacked the Monarchy. Only PAS and Tengku Razaleigh supported the Monarchy. And when we tried to explain that we need to support the Monarchy so that Mahathir’s move to strip the Monarchy of its veto powers can be blocked, they laughed in our faces.
So, yes, that was 30 years ago. And it was a very painful experience. So, today, I support the new law that gives wide powers to the Prime Minister to suspend Parliament and suspend Democracy and declare an Emergency and install Military Rule if need be. It is what you get for clapping and cheering 30 years ago when Mahathir removed the powers of the Monarchy to allow whoever becomes the Prime Minister to become an autocrat.
Okay, all together now. Clap, clap, hand…Mahathir whack the Rulers. Now Rulers got no power. Najib more power than Mahathir…clap, clap, hand.
A Terengganu prince has lambasted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his family for allegedly living larger than even the Malay rulers themselves, pointing to the two-month lease of a private jet which was used by the PM’s spouse for an estimated RM86 million despite the government owning seven other aircraft.
“At a time when Malaysia faces a serious economic downturn, this is an unforgivable action. The government already owns seven jets, so why the need to lease another jet for RM86 million?” said Raja Bahrin Shah, who is also Kuala Terengganu MP, in a statement.
Just last year in Parliament, Raja Bahrin noted that allocations for poor school children were cut from RM200 million to just under RM10 million.
“But now they can spend RM86 million to lease a jet so the leader who is supposed to care for the rakyat live in the lap of luxury,” he said.
The Kuala Terengganu MP stressed that education for Malaysian children, especially the poor should have been a priority. Instead he lamented that those who are to be tomorrow’s leaders and administrators are being denied their education and possibly their future, that is their right.
He wondered where is the concern that the Najib government supposedly claim to have for the nation’s children.
The prince opined that while we have rulers and kings who are formally installed, there also seems those who live large like they are more than kings, though not installed.
Raja Bahrin related that even real kings are more circumspect when it comes to spending public funds.
He told of how the late Sultan Ismail of Terengganu who was also the Agong from 1965 to 1970, was careful about the use of public funds for his family members.
Even though the late sultan was close to then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, Raja Bahrin said he was careful not to abuse the national funds and facilities for his family and led a modest life.
“Today the wife and children of the prime ministry have extraordinary privileges,” he added.
Raja Bahrin argued that we never used to hear the wife to Tunku Abdul Rahman called the ‘first lady’. Now he lamented that it is the norm for the current PM’s wife.
“That is how wide the difference between the leaders of yesterday and today,” lamented the prince.
Raja Bahrin also accused Najib of showing disrespect to the Malay rulers when he did not defer the gazetting of the National Security Council Act, despite the Conference of Rulers having sent the law back for amendments.