Malaysia’s Monarchy and Politics
By Paul Chong Tuesday, 5 June 2018
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent
Without prejudice & with due respect, speaking as a former Malaysian citizen, the Malaysian Monarchy is outdated & archaic. It serves no purpose whatsoever costing the rakyat heftily in finacial support. The Agong & the Sultans (state royalties) exist mainly serving as figure heads & ceremonial purposes. The seeming interference of the Malaysian Royal families in the politics of Malaysia lately has given rise to public outcry. Perhaps, it is timely & meritoriously to review & revamp Malaysia’s political setup & the question of the monarchy. In a small country like Malaysia we have more figure heads than any other country in the world. Suffice to have just the Menteri Besar administering each state. Constitutionally, the Agong could be replaced by an elected Head of State or President. All state royalties could be retired once & for all.
The question of loyalty to which royalty arises, giving rise to division & polarisation. In all sensibility, whatever the sentiment, different royalties set to divide & rule the rakyat, for they only represent the Malays, Bumiputras & the Islamic aspects of life.
It is a well known fact that Malaysia is a multi-racial society with a sizeable number of Chinese, Indians and a lesser lot of others. In all fairness & justice, is it right to marginalise them in terms of rights, special privileges, education, job opportunities, business contracts, civil service – can’t believe how long the list is!
The crux of the matter is where in the world would you find such a practice . . . not in US, Britain, Canada, Europe or China. Everyone is equally treated, no privileges or special preferences. To neglect & discriminate the rakyat one from the other reflects the glaring practice of the once infamous Apartheid in South Africa.
Incidentally, are such sensitive issues like Malay special privileges & rights enshrined in the Constitution? I know there are provisions for religious freedom.
The term “Bumiputra” (meaning son of the soil) was politically motivated, only restricted for use with the Malays. The true bumiputras are the aborigines in the Malaysian jungle whose lifestyle & status remain unchanged. Originally, Malays are all immigrants from Indonesia, Arabic countries & even India. It’s been proven archaeologically that the Malays were not the first to land on Malayan soil. The term should be eradicated or if still in use to include everyone born & bred in Malaysia. That would be “politically correct” for the rebirth of a true democratic nation. The rakyat would then think & act as one Malaysian. Who should “Balik Kampong” otherwise becomes a great national dilemma.
Towards this end can you then achieve a true unified nation & do away with race-based politics. Democracy means greatly meritocracy irrespective of race, colour or creed. Malaysia should strive to “Be a Star . . . Forget the Scar”.
The rakyat must learn to hold in high esteem the value of pride & dignity; to learn to fish & live for life rather than to be given a fish & living for the day only. John F Kennedy in his inaugural address called upon the nation with his most famous words:
“ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU – ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY”
Penang, Malacca, Sabah & Sarawak have no monarchy. Uniformity should prevail over the new nation – a land I like to refer to as the Golden Chersonese, where there exist no discrimination, differences & discrepancies. Cohesivenes & inclusiveness are important to ensure political stability, peace & harmony.
If I maybe allowed to say that the word “Agong” in Hokkien bears a negative connotation.