No need to fight with the Agong through the media, do it behind closed doors
No need to shame the Agong or the Raja-Raja Melayu publicly even when they are wrong. And being human, there would be many occasions when they would be wrong, like in today’s episode regarding the Emergency Ordinance.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Students of history (which most Malaysians are not) will know how the government (and the Prime Minister) have conducted themselves in their relationship with the Istana or the Raja-Raja Melayu. In fact, Tunku Abdul Rahman (PM1), wrote that he, Tun Razak Hussein (PM2) and Tun Hussein Onn (PM3) had their hands full in trying to handle the Istana.
But then PM1, PM2 and PM3 were all “Orang Istana”, so they understood “Budaya Istana” or “Palace Culture” and how to delicately navigate the choppy waters of the Istana. PM4 was a different breed altogether, though. Being the son of an immigrant from India and not schooled in “Budaya Istana”, he was more aggressive, abrasive and antagonistic towards the Raja-Raja Melayu.
READ MORE HERE: Kabinet telah nasihatkan Agong batal semua Ordinan Darurat
Basically, Mahathir’s way of handling the Istana or the Raja-Raja Melayu was to show them the middle finger and say, “Fook you!”
The Istana or the Raja-Raja Melayu are not easy to handle, especially since there are ten of them. Even amongst themselves there are clashes between the different Istana where sometimes these clashes have turned violent with gun-waving and gun-pointing and so on.
The Raja-Raja Melayu (and members of their family) have been known to have beaten up people who they disagreed with, some ending up in hospital with even some being sent to their graves. (For example, JWW Birch found himself on the receiving end of the keris).
That is the reason for the First Constitutional Crisis in 1983 and the Second Constitutional Crisis in 1994, which ended up with two constitutional amendments that stripped the Agong of some of his powers.
Mahathir found the Agong too difficult to handle and he lacked the patience and diplomacy of PM1, PM2 and PM3. Instead of navigating the choppy waters of the Istana, Mahathir would rather langgar pintu Istana.
READ MORE HERE: Tindakan Kerajaan Teratur Dan Selaras Dengan Peruntukan Undang-Undang Dan Perlembagaan Malaysia
Before this, prime ministers have settled differences with the Istana Negara and the nine Istana Negeri behind closed doors. And there were many clashes between the Raja-Raja Melayu and the government (such as choice of menteri besar, timber land, mining land, government contracts etc.).
But the prime minister did not issue press statements or scold the Istana or Raja-Raja Melayu publicly or through the media. They scolded the Raja-Raja Melayu in private (until Mahathir came alone, that is).
The need for the Agong’s consent was removed in May 1994 by PM4, Dr Mahathir
And the Raja-Raja Melayu or the Agong, in turn, did not issue press statements every fortnight or scold the government or Prime Minister publicly or through the media. This is because if the Raja-Raja Melayu or the Agong issued press statements or scolded the government or Prime Minister publicly or through the media, then the government or the Prime Minister would be placed in a most awkward and uncomfortable position of having to also respond publicly or through the media.
PM8 Muhyiddin Yassin must act like PM1, PM2 and PM3, and not like PM4/PM7. In the past, the Government and the Istana did not scold each other through the media (until the time of Mahathir, of course). If the PM was not happy with the Istana, he would go mengadap the Agong or Raja-Raja Melayu and tell them to behave.
Hence no need to shame the Agong or the Raja-Raja Melayu publicly even when they are wrong. And, being human, there would be many occasions when they would be wrong, like in today’s episode regarding the Emergency Ordinance.