Why did Anwar drag the Agong into politics?

I have read many “academic” articles about this so-called “Constitutional Crisis” written by so many “experts”, the one below being just one example. What they seem to have ignored is the fact that Anwar used Istana Negara in his attempt to topple the government. Hence it was Anwar who dragged the Agong into politics. So, stop grumbling when things turn out the opposite of what you have planned.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

When Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong brought the request from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for an emergency to be declared to the Conference of Rulers, and the Rulers subsequently turned down that request, Pakatan Harapan and its supporters had nothing but praise for the wise, fair and just Raja-Raja Melayu.

Phew, lucky Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and not a republic, said these people. This shows Malaysia needs this fourth branch of government, the monarchy, after the executive, legislature and judiciary.

Pakatan Harapan alleges that the request for an emergency to be declared is a political move, to avoid a vote of no confidence to be passed in parliament against Muhyiddin and the Perikatan Nasional government. An emergency would mean parliament would be suspended — hence no vote of no confidence in parliament.

Anwar started the ball rolling by using the Agong in his attempt to bring down the government

If they cannot pass a motion of no confidence through the front door, they will do it through the back door — by sabotaging the budget or Budget 2021. If Budget 2021 is blocked, that would tantamount to a vote of no confidence. Hence Muhyiddin and Perikatan Nasional will fall.

What is it in Budget 2021 that is bad for Malaysia? How can Budget 2021 be improved? It really does not matter. This is not about Budget 2021 being good or bad. It is about using Budget 2021 as the weapon to bring down the government. And if Budget 2021 is sabotaged, it will hurt the government even though it is going to hurt the rakyat even worse.

Hence, Muhyiddin’s request for an emergency to be declared is to prevent the sabotage of Budget 2021, which, his critics say, is to prevent the backdoor vote-of-no-confidence against him,

Actually, Budget 2021 might even be a good budget that helps address the problems the rakyat is facing due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. But that is not the issue. It does not matter if Budget 2021 is good and is going to be of great help to the rakyat. It needs to be sabotaged so that the government can be brought down.

The Pakatan Harapan people are unhappy that the attempt to use Istana Negara to topple Muhyiddin failed

This whole drama started when Anwar Ibrahim requested an audience with His Majesty the Agong to inform His Majesty that Muhyiddin has lost his majority in parliament. Anwar told His Majesty he has 121 MPs with him, which can increase to 158 once he takes over as prime minister or PM9.

Anwar was basically trying to use the Agong or Istana Negara to kick out Muhyiddin and take over as PM9. Anwar thought he could ride on the Palace to trigger a coup. But when the Agong did not summon Muhyiddin (titah mengadap) to Istana Negara and demand that the Prime Minister prove he still has the majority (supposed to be 113 MPs) or else resign and make way for Anwar, Pakatan Harapan was not too happy with the Agong.

Anwar opened his langkah to bring down Muhyiddin by trying to use the Agong (Langkah Kajang, Langkah PD, and now Langkah Istana). Muhyiddin then defended himself by also going to the Agong to try to get an emergency declared.

Hence both Anwar and Muhyiddin turned to the Agong in their game of thrones.

And now they say the Agong must not get involved in politics. Then why did Anwar drag His Majesty the Agong into his coup attempt? Janganlah libatkan Agong dalam usaha rampas kuasa! You got the Agong involved in your Langkah Istana and now you whack the Agong for getting involved in politics.

I have read many “academic” articles about this so-called “Constitutional Crisis” written by so many “experts”, the one below being just one example. What they seem to have ignored is the fact that Anwar used Istana Negara in his attempt to topple the government. Hence it was Anwar who dragged the Agong into politics. So, stop grumbling when things turn out the opposite of what you have planned.


No “Guided” Constitutional Monarchy

M. Bakri Musa (www.bakrimusa.com)

Alas the accolades heaped upon the Agung for not acceding to Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s earlier request for Emergency Rule had not yet ebbed when the Agung startled Malaysians with his unprecedented “advice” for Members of Parliament to pass Muhyiddin’s forthcoming 2021 budget.

This royal “advice,” or “guided” constitutional monarchy from the palace if you will, has all the stink of an overripe durian. At least with that you could salvage it into tompoyak paste, a delicacy if you can get past the odor.

The Agung issued that menasihat (advice) only a few hours after Muhyiddin had presented his proposed budget to him. The Agung had barely enough time to skim the headings and he already had his advice for the rakyat.

Something about Malay language. You and I menasihat each other, but sultans decree. Therein lies the danger. Already those in UMNO and Muhyiddin’s camp are making this point of the menasihit being a titah(decree), and to be obeyed as such, to suit their political expediency. Indeed, a few paragraphs into the palace statement, it used the word titah to describe it, just in case you missed the message. There was no subtlety there.

Those who think that this was merely an advice from a concerned King are ignorant of Malay language, culture, or norms. To go against a titah is derkaha. That would make those who would vote against the budget traitors.

It is not coincidental that the palace issued the statement in Malay and with no accompanying English translation, as is the practice. I would like to see palace officials (or anyone else) translate the first few words of the fifth paragraph of the October 28 Palace Statement:   “Al Sultan Abdullah bertitah [my emphasis]demikian selepas menerima menghapad YAB Perdana Menteri. . . .” (The Agung decreed this following an audience with the Prime Minister . . . .)

Back in 1957 the incompetent but egotistic President Sukarno, unable to perform the basic tasks of governance, introduced “guided democracy,” with him being the “guider” of course. With that as a beginning, a decade later he was replaced by a brutal dictator, Suharto. That reign of terror would not end till 1996.

Malaysians be warned! Do not go down this well-trodden path of “guided” or “menasihat” of anything from anyone. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

Members of Parliament should do their job they were sent to do. They are paid by the rakyat. MPs must listen to those who sent them there and paid their salary, not anyone else even if he were to heap upon you exalted titles of some ancient supposedly glorious Mashuri dynasty.

An earlier Agung said it best. “Democracy as a political system does not become a democracy because it is given that appellation. The true meaning of democracy can be summed up by the phrase ‘government by the people.’”

Now that is sound nasihat (advice)! That earlier Agung, Raja Azlan Shah, had also served as the nation’s Chief Justice.

He went further. “Any form of pressure or arbitrary limits imposed on the people in their free exercise of the right to choose their own government will be a clear abrogation of any parliamentary system of government. Similarly, major bills must not be rushed through Parliament. The people should have an opportunity to express their views.”

An annual budget is a major if not the bill for the government. This Agung wants it diluluskan tanpa sebarang gangguan (passed without any interference).

That is a very dangerous mindset, to equate robust parliamentary debates as gangguan (interference). Palace advisors must be disabused early and in no uncertain terms of this treacherous path that they have chosen to follow.

If this Agung believes that the current Covid-19 pandemic presents such a clear and present danger to the nation such that parliamentary bills must be passed without gangguan, he should have approved that earlier request for Emergency Rule.

By giving this titah to support Muhyiddin, the Agung has implicitly endorsed him as the legitimate Prime Minister. As such, his earlier denial of the advice from the “Prime Minister” for an Emergency Rule set a very dangerous precedent. The King reigns but does not rule.

The King’s titah to the rakyat was misplaced. He should have directed it instead to Muhyiddin. That advice is the same one Malaysians have bombarded on Muhyiddin during the last few months, that is, get Parliamentary endorsement of your leadership. If you do not or cannot, then get out! This manufactured political crisis is Muhyiddin’s, not Malaysia’s.

Malaysia’s system of constitutional monarchy is unique in many ways but it is still in its infancy. Malays have just emerged from the old ugly days of feudalism. Many still yearn for those days. As such our system of constitutional monarchy should be strengthened and not breached under some misplaced pretext of loyalty or stability. It is still fragile.

It was not so long ago following the 2008 elections when the Menteri Besar of Perak said this to his sultan:  “Patek memohon derhaka ….!” (I, your slave, beg to commit treason …!) Imagine the people’s representative being a slave to the sultan!

In a constitutional monarchy, sovereignty lies with the rakyat, not the raja.

To switch my earlier metaphor of an overripe durian, this attempt at breaching the clear lines in a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy must be plugged before the entire edifice crumbles. Don’t let the nation be swamped. Malaysian MPs should be like the brave Dutch boy – stick your finger in the dyke, and do it now with the budget session next week.