During the Perak crisis, key democratic institutions were manipulated by the powers-that-be to contain and crush legitimate dissent. Martin Jalleh wonders if Raja Nazrin will tell the people the real story about what happened behind the scenes.
Your Royal Highness (YRH),
Recently, during a talk themed: “The role of Malay rulers in nurturing unity” held in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Shah Alam, YRH declared that “rulers should not be shielded from the truth and must be told the real story”.
May I, with due respect to YRH, tell you the truth – that many of us (especially those who are sons and daughters of Perak) find it very hard to believe that you meant every word that you said during the talk. Some, in responding to the article highlighting your talk, have asked you to “walk the talk”!
Much as we would really like to consider what you had proclaimed as “rare wisdom” from a ruler and intellectual, very unfortunately, the tragic manner in which the Perak royal family handled the Perak constitutional crisis reduces your speeches to mere “regal rhetoric”.
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You were so very right when you said that “rulers should never be surrounded by people with personal interests who are willing to use them as tools”. If only the Perak royalty had displayed and determinedly demonstrated such astuteness during the crisis!
It was the public’s perception that His Royal Highness (HRH) Sultan Azlan Shah had allowed himself to be surrounded by the PM and his cohorts and to be used as a political tool. HRH also denied the ousted Perak MB Nizar Jamaluddin an audience at a very crucial point.
By writing this open letter to you I run the risk of Umno or Perkasa members making police reports against me, but I am confident enough that YRH will not allow these elements to make use of you, as they have so often and unashamedly done so, out of political expediency.
To confirm the hypocrisy of the Umno elite, you should consult your royal colleague and veteran Umno leader, Tengku Razaleigh, who during the height of the crisis strongly suggested that it is Umno that has harmed the Malay rulers more than anyone else!
In sharp contrast to your professed openness, Umno, through the Attorney-General’s Chambers has gone to extremes to do the opposite. Take for example the AG’s appeal against a High Court’s decision to acquit Karpal Singh of a charge of sedition against the Perak Sultan.
Unbelievably, the DPP told the Court of Appeal: “People have the legal right to take Sultans to court but to speak openly of it is seditious…as this would inflame the sentiments of laymen who did not have a good grasp of the law”!
Understandably, the AG and his Chambers are suspected of suffering from an inflammation of the brain, which in many respects is as bad as “yellow fever”.
Bitter and brutal truth
YRH, you stressed that “rulers should be willing to accept the fact, no matter how bitter, as justice could not be upheld without the truth.” Logically, you would need to be willing to accept the fact, no matter how bitter, that hardly anyone takes you seriously these days.
Public sentiments for HRH Sultan Azlan Shah are the same. Perakians had placed their hopes high on HRH – whom they had held in high regard. But he seemed to be swayed by Umno’s political subterfuge and scheming. Public perception of his impartiality plummeted after that.
YRH so rightly pointed out that: “In all conflicts, no one party is right all the time and no one party is wrong all the time.” HRH Sultan Azlan Shah (a former Lord President though he was) was wrong in his personal discretion and his straying beyond his parameters of power during the crisis.
No one presented the brutal and bitter truth so honestly, clearly and professionally than respected retired judge N H Chan, who bravely declared that HRH had “sidestepped” provisions of the Perak Constitution and made a “fatal error”.
YRH also very accurately pointed out in your talk that “the credibility of some national instruments require recovery of perception and need improvement in line with current world dynamics to restore confidence in the people.”
During and after the Perak crisis, key democratic institutions were manipulated by the powers-that-be to contain, cripple and crush legitimate dissent. They degenerated to the point that the public no longer trusted them. This was especially true of the judiciary.
The judiciary sank so low during the crisis – to allow itself to be intimidated, its independence and impartiality interfered with, and its integrity reduced to ignominy. Today the reputation of the judiciary or whatever is left of it, has been sullied irreparably.
Ironically, on 31 Octorber 2007, I had in an open letter thanked HRH Sultan Azlan “for portraying the truth about the state of the country’s judiciary and your accompanying clarion call for major reforms in the judiciary…”
I wrote: “Today, we have become a laughing stock. We are second to none when it comes to kangaroo courts and court jesters like the de facto Law Minister. The judgments of our courts are often quoted in political satire and online comic scripts.” Nothing has changed!
Just as the “credibility of some national instruments require recovery of perception and need improvement”, I am sure you will agree that the credibility of the royalty also requires recovering of perception and regaining public confidence!
Perhaps, YRH, this can only happen if the people are told the “real story”. Just as the rulers need to be given the true picture, the public also needs to hear the “real story” to make a wise and good decision in the next General Elections.
YRH, please tell us the “real story” on why there was such undue and indecent haste by HRH to dismiss the leader of a popularly elected coalition? Why was there such an unholy haste to recognise and instal and swear in a government against the expressed wishes of the people?
Raja Petra has told us his “real story” to the above questions. It allegedly has something to do with your succession to the Perak throne and also to save the financial empire of one of the members of your royal family. Is RPK’s story accurate?
Will you tell us the “real story”?
Martin Jalleh, a well known political commentator, is a regular contributor to Aliran.