Salam Mukhriz and a Ramadan Truce

Mukhriz Mahathir, like his father, Tun Mahathir, has always been less than cordial to the royal institution as seen in the media.

Husni Zakaria

A common sign of respect among cultures is the act of meeting hands. According to a hadith by Abu Dawud, the custom of handshaking was first displayed to Prophet Muhammad SAW when the people of Yemen visited him.

He was impressed with the gesture and said that “Two Muslims will not meet and shake hands without having their sins forgiven by Allah before they depart”.

It is surprising then that Dato Seri’ Mukhriz Mahathir refused to acknowledge the entire Johor Royal Family at the funeral of the former Sultan of Pahang, Paduka Ayahanda Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah at the Balairung Seri of Istana Abu Bakar.

Mukhriz Mahathir, like his father, Tun Mahathir, has always been less than cordial to the royal institution as seen in the media.

Look at his defence of his government’s decision to accede to the Rome Statute:

“For example, say there is a leader with great powers in our country, and for some reason, he wants to kill people, not just one or two, but 100,000 or 500,000… he wants to kill off an ethnic group or destroy a kampung, burn all the houses down.

“There are supposed to be laws to investigate, charge and try him in court. But for some reason we are not able to do it, maybe because he is our leader, or we fear that he will kill us, so we dare not take action.”

Given this statement, it is difficult not to see this as a veiled threat to the royal institution, let alone implying that our rulers would even think of performing such evil acts.

But this snub by Mukhriz, recorded on video and has gone viral on social media, is massively disrespectful towards a central pillar of the Malay community.

The Malay community is rightly angry at this act, and shows how little Tun M’s “republicans” care about how their actions resonate with the rest of the country.

More concerningly, this puts into the question of how far the ongoing war between those who are seeking to turn Malaysia into a republic and those who defend the royal institution.

The Ramadan truce that was supposed to have be held by both parties has already been broken given the multiple incidents that have taken place these past few weeks.

On 3 May, details of a 4.5ha parcel owned to the Sultan, was unfairly linked to the postponed Rapid Transit System (RTS) to Singapore. Sultan Ibrahim, who was unaware of this, issued a statement that he would freely pass ownership of the land so long that the government resumes the RTS project.

Cybertroopers linked to the republican movement took the opportunity to link the Sultan as a rent-seeker, claiming that he fully knew of the process.

The subsequent week ramped up tensions where Tun Mahathir’s media adviser A. Kadir Jasin saying that the new police chief and Inland Revenue Board should reopen investigation papers to investigate businesses linked to the Johor Royal Family.

Tun Mahathir even called Tunku Ismail “a stupid boy” for questioning the motives behind this sudden attacks on the royal institution.

Yet this is all a smokescreen for Pakatan Harapan’s less than savoury activities and lack of performance.

The RTS negotiations with Singapore continue to be postponed – but interestingly only because the Ministry of Finance is looking to “reduce costs” for the project by getting private entities to replace Prasarana, an action reeking of “crony” capitalism.

Even members of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition have cried foul over this decision, citing that it is a betrayal of the ideals and principles that the rakyat based their vote on GE14.

Similarly Tun Mahathir’s “stupid boy” comment on 6 May was no doubt to help him shore up support for PH’s faltering approval ratings with Tun’s popularity taking a huge dip from a high of 71% to 46%. Pakatan Harapans government ratings also dipped from 79% to 39% according to a poll by the Merdeka Center.

It is deeply troubling that the government has made the decision to attack the check and balances that help us preserve democracy in Malaysia rather than controlling the economy, the spiraling ringgit and the rising cost of living.

Instead Tun Mahathir is content with whipping up the rakyat into a frenzy in his long-standing vendetta against the royal families of Malaysia. Not only that, he has recruited his party for his war cabinet, with individuals such as Mukhriz Mahathir and Syed Saddiq leading the charge for him.

Moving forward, there seems to be only two certainties:

That we will continue to see even greater smokescreens at the expense of the Royal Family and Malay identity.

And that this is no longer a one man vendetta. It is his legacy.