Thursday, November 27, 2008

Royal Immunity is Never Withdrawn

A Kadir Jasin

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JUST a brief thought to go with your favourite breakfast and brunch. Mine is mi rebus and teh si kosong at Damansara Uptown’s Killiney Kopitiam.

The immunity of the Malay Rulers and the royalty in the performance of their official/state duties has never been taken away. They continue to enjoy that immunity.

What was taken away during the second amendment in the early 1990s was their immunity from prosecution in the conducts of their private affairs or non-state matters like cheating their business partners and beating up people.

That amendment came about when a Malaysian Indian hockey coach was beaten up by a member of the Johor royal household for excluding a prince from taking part in a junior hockey match.

I remember that event very well because the New Straits Times took up the issue. Our correspondent in Johor Baru was harassed and threatened, forcing us to bring him back to Kuala Lumpur temporarily.

Since then, several cases involving the private conducts of several members of the royal families had been heard and disposed off by the special royal courts.

Although their private immunity was taken away, they continue to enjoy the privileges of being tried by special courts.

So, in my humble view, the question of restoring royal immunity does not arise because they have never lost that protection.

Of course in this modern day and age, we cannot have members of the royalty beating up hockey coaches, golf caddies and each other or cheating their business partners.

Please bear in mind that ours is a constitutional monarchy. The agreement we entered into with our Rulers as enshrined in the constitution forms part and parcel of the social contract.

The Malays had always lived and must continue to live by the “sumpah” “Raja adil Raja disembah, Raja zalim Raja disanggah.”

So, let’s not twist fact and get into another unnecessary controversy. The Rulers are doing a good job in filling the vacuum created by the weaker executive in the post March 8 general election. But let us not get carried away.

And a great big thank you to the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, for telling the Malaysians, in particular the non-Muslims, “not to twist the fatwa on goya.”

I also agree that in future the National Fatwa Council should “consult” the Conference of Rulers and the experts in communications before announcing a fatwa through the media.

There is a clear case of media spinning and sensationalism in the announcement of the fatwa on yoga and the insensitivity and belligerence on the part of several non-Muslims and liberal Muslim NGOs.

26 comments:

amoker said...

Datuk, I agree that the total immunity cannot be the solution to the royal's effectiveness. The royals have to think why the rakyat has more respect for the Perak and Selangor household. Also, it is quite interesting that this is an issue that Negeri Sembilan wants to champion and they have been rather muted on real social issues. Look at the royals in Europe - no immunity and they take their roles seriously.

Cak Kun Cak said...

Dear Datuk,

Again, in a nutshell why are all these 'issues' surfacing now in the manner that we are witnessing it?

My conclusion - a weak and ignoramus leader at the helm is very likely the No 1 reason of the 10 reasons we could list out.

So, I am now wondering - is it possible by rejecting UMNO and effectively trying to teach these UMNO ignoramuses that we can make things better?

Some now say, " the hell with UMNO!!. Lets try some fresh air and if we are wrong its better than sticking to the one who is clearly wrecking the country"

Would appreciate your input/opinion on these Datuk.

Rgds

ps - I enjoy Killiney's half boiled eat and the mee rebus too. Seen you there with your laptop once or twice. Keep writing Datuk

NOBISHA said...

Dato,

Saya setuju perlunya ada imuniti, bagaimanapun ia harus terhad supaya rakyat marhain boleh merasakan mereka juga ada ruang untuk mendapat pembelaan di bawah undang-undang negara.

Carilah formula yang terbaik supaya raja-raja boleh memainkan peranan mereka dengan berkesan dan rakyat juga merasakan keadilan wujud di negara ini.

Raison D'etre said...

Datuk,

Thank you for the clarifications.

It is of interest as of late, news items on members of the Royalty being sued have been in the highlight.

Better not to comment too much on this, ye tak?

BTW: Have you read the Star's capital Talk ?

Logic says the article is correct, but can we really talk ourselves out of the reality of the matter?

This has always been the country's stand after all.


And, if you have some time, do read my take on the whole Yoga issue.

Wasalam.

sawit futures trader said...

Salam Dato',

Petikan dari The Sun (Sun2Surf)hari ini,

Call to restore royal immunity,
Karen Arukesamy

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26, 2008) : Negri Sembilan Regent Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Jaafar today called on the government to restore the royal immunity that had been "lost" for 15 years and return the monarchy's independence so that it can play a more effective role as guardian of the Federal Constitution.

In his luncheon address on 'The Role of the Constitutional Monarchy in 21st Century Malaysia' at a roundtable on strategic issues organised by Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) at a hotel here, Tunku Naquiyuddin argued that immunity is essential, and is symbiotic with sovereignty.

"It really becomes nonsensical that a sovereign ruler can be taken to court for trying to protect the best interest of the nation. He must also be protected at all costs from pecuniary embarrassment so that his sovereignty is not tarnished or undermined.

"To put it another way, can we afford to have a ruler incarcerated or even made a bankrupt? Ironically, we now have a situation where judges are immune in the exercise of their judicial functions, but rulers are not," he said.

Tunku Naquiyuddin cited an example.

"Take the situation where we have a 'hung' Parliament and the ruler decides on a prime minister from one side. Can you imagine a situation where the other side is very unhappy and decides to take the ruler to court," he said.

"The ruler is only doing his duty under the constitution that he be given the right to appoint the PM. But without the immunity, he (ruler) can be taken to court by whoever the opposition member is. Or vice-versa if the ruler appoints a member of the current opposition to be PM, then the Umno members will be disgruntled and take him to court."

Article 40 (2)(a) in the Federal Constitution provides for the procedures and appointment of PM by the Agong using his own discretion.

However, he said, this "immunity" can be debated, modified and can, for instance, not apply to incidences where a ruler "harms" a person.

He said the immunity given should be on par with other constitutional monarchies.

Tunku Naquiyuddin referred to the situations in 1983 and 1993 when Barisan Nasional was strong and the rulers' voices were "in the minority".

He said there was a confrontation with the rulers in respect of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s proposal to curb the royal assent on legislation in Parliament in 1983 and the Indemnity of Rulers in 1993. In both instances, Mahathir's will prevailed.

Tunku Naquiyuddin said: "As we proceed towards a more contentious and polemical political world, there will have to be increasingly more royal interferences,"

He said the rulers are like referees or arbitrators who issue appropriate judicious statements at crucial times.

"If political parties see themselves as representatives of the people, the rulers see themselves as guardians of the Constitution."

He also touched on other issues like the social contract, institution of the Malay Royalty as a pillar in the Constitution and the recent fatwa on yoga and tomboys.

To a question on whether the rulers are playing a more active role now in regards to national unity, he said: "The Malay rulers' role has always been, in many aspects, very superficial. In the past, more ceremonial."

However, he said of late, there is a ruler coming out to voice his opinion almost every other week.

"It's because our politics is becoming bi-polar. It the past, the BN had two-thirds majority, everything seemed plain sailing but obviously there was tremendous dissatisfaction which was reflected in the March general election," he said, adding that the rulers felt it too because they meet the rakyat often.

"The rulers are like the ears and the eyes of the government," he said.

"It is not so much that the rulers now want to challenge the powers that be, but it is just that they feel there is a need for change." he said.

He said today people are thankful that the royal institution can intervene when politicians are throwing chairs at each other, so that the country does not get messed up.

"Politics are politics. Politicians supposedly work for their party but there is also a lot of self-interest, self-motivation, greed and corruption," he added.

His Royal Highness was talking about the balance of power between the Monarchy, the Executives, the Legislatives and the Parliment.

It was sad to say that this was not covered by Utusan Online or Berita Harian Online.

And certainly I will like to see our PN clarify this constitutional issue after clarifying the fatwa issue.

p/s Dato', you fail to mention that during that period of time, our Kings started to be referred to in MSM headlines by their name. Even the "Tengku" was left out!

I'm sure Kelantanese age above 35 (at least) will remember that.

A KADIR JASIN said...

Sdr "Mufti Murtad" (maaf cakap, nama samaran seperti ini kurang sesuai),

Maaf tidak dapat postkan komen Sdr. Namun saya ambil maklum dan setuju dengan sesetengah hujah Sdr.

Kita wajib ingat bila kita membuat ulasan mengenai Raja-Raja Melayu, kita tertakluk kepada undang-undang dan tata susila.

Mungkin Sdr bercakap benar mengenai kelakuan sesetengah Raja, anak dan cucu Raja yang tidak menepati hukum agama, hukum negara dan hukum masyarakat.

Benar ada Raja-Raja dan ahli keluarga mereka yang disaman dan didapati bersalah.

Tetapi saya tidak berani mengiakan hal-hal seperti menyimpan gundik, minum arak dan berjudi yang Sdr katakan.

Setiap kali kita Solat Jumaat, tidak kira di Masjid Negara, Masjid Shah Alam, Masjid Batu Pahat atau Masjid Pekan, kita mendoakan kesejahteraan Raja-Raja kita.

Ayah saya sentiasa mengingatkan saya mengenai doa yang boleh memakan diri orang yang didoakan.

Satu hal lagi, Raja-Raja kita sudah diberikan lebih daripada cukup kuasa untuk menjadi Raja yang adil dan melakukan kebaikan.

Malah Baginda juga mempunyai "moral authority" dan budibicara yang luas seperti yang berlaku dalam pelantikan Menteri Besar Perlis, Perak dan Terengganu selepas PRU 8 Mac lalu.

Jadi janganlah ada sesiapa -- Raja dan rakyat -- yang cuba mengambil kesempatan daripada keadaan yang kurang menentu sekarang.

Terima kasih.

dan kajang said...

As'kum Dato'

I do agree with you that the immnity is never withdrawn.In fact since the admentment there has been a clear demarcation of law for the royalties of what they do and what they cannot do within the contact of the Malaysian Laws.

Since then all parties,including the royalties have abite that written law without problems.It all went on fine.So I hope no parties should take advantage to create unecessary controvetial to make demand to admend the Constitution.Any how, nobody should be above the law."Tiada seorang pun yang maksum dalam Islam.

Dr.Sintok said...

dalam islam bukanke semuaorang ada hak yang sama rata..... dalam islam bolek ke sesiapa ada immunity untuk bebas daripada undangx2............
adakah nabi mohammad ada immunity dalan kerajaan yg diketuainya....

A KADIR JASIN said...

Sdr Puyot, mohon maaf saya tidak dapat menyiarkan komen Sdr. Namun saya akui Sdr memberi hujah yang bernas.

1. Saya minta, kalau boleh, hadkan perbincangan kepada isu kekebalan (immunity) Raja-Raja.

2.Tidak perlulah kita ungkit asal usul Raja-Raja kita;

3. Kekebalan yang dimaksudkan ini adalah perlindungan yang diberikan kepada Raja-Raja daripada disaman atau dikenakan tindakan mahkamah kerana menjalankan tugas-tugas rasmi dan tugas-tugas negeri;

4. Sebelum pindaan 1993, Raja-Raja menikmati kekebalan yang lebih luas dan mutlak termasuk dalam urusan peribadi seperti perniagan dan perbuatan jenayah;

5. Inilah bahaya apabila Raja-Raja terlalu terbuka dengan pendangan mereka;

6. Bukan semua rakyat jelata akan setuju dan bukan semua bersopan santun dan berbudibicara apabila memberi respons;

7. Saya rasa lebih elok kalau Raja-Raja hendak mengeluarkan pendapat yang baru, kontroversial dan menyentuh kuasa politik agar dibincangkan dulu dalam Majlis Raja-Raja dengan kehadiran Perdana Menteri.

Terima kasih.

Anonymous said...

I still remember the story about the coach being whacked by Raja Johor and thought Dr.M as being awesome in handling this issue. He won my support for doing that. Now, my thoughts on Dr.M is 50/50 and sometimes I read his blogs and turnoff by the racist nature of some of his own posting and also by many commentors there. I always think our Royals are doing alright, maybe because seldom heard any news about them but recent negative news started pop up...

Concern Malaysian

Alias Mohd Yusof said...

Sebagai orang Islam, kita ada nilai-nilai yang telah digariskan oleh agama kita. Sebagai seorang orang yang beriman kita kena bertindak mengikut apa yang diajarkan oleh Quran, tidak semestinya dijadikan dalam bentuk undang-undang.
Kita tahu sembahyang lima waktu itu wajib, sebagai orang yang beriman kita akan tunaikannya. Tak perlulah kita gubal satu undang-undang negara untuk mewajibkan orang Islam bersembahyang.
Dalam ajaran Islam, tidak ada konsep imuniti dalam ajaran Islam, tidak boleh melakukan diskriminasi kaum, tidak boleh menginaya dan menzalimi sesama manusia.

Sra said...

Salam Dato',

I remember why the immunity to prosecute the Rulers had to be revoked. I also remember Tun Dr Mahathir's explanation on the issues in the Parliment. I do agree with what Tun presented and I think it is the right thing to do in Malaysian context.

In Brisbane recently, I had the opportunity to meet briefly the current Agong and to shake hand with him. I am very proud of our King as he had shown a high discipline and determination during the endurance race in Brisbane. His high moral and dignity should be an examplary to others.

Wassalam
Srazali Aripin
Brisbane, Australia

Zainal Ariffin Ashari said...

Datuk,
Forgive me for my ignorance, the only bad news that I've heard so far about the royals was when Stan Chart sue a NEgeri Sembilan royalty for RM1 M. Is it a biz deal went sour? Other than that, it was OK. Ada lagi yang lebih teruk unreported ke?
Salam

berasiam said...

Salam Dato' AKJ

Topik yang dikemukakan seharusnya membuka mata banyak pihak agar memahami lebih mendalam isu yang sebenarnya mengenai hal berkenaan. Pindaan Perlembagaan yang dibuat pada 1993 bukanlah menghakis imuniti Raja-raja tetapi meletakkan imuniti itu pada tempat yang sebenarnya.

Banyak pihak lain juga mempunyai sedikit sebanyak imuniti dalam menjalankan tugas dan tanggung jawabnya. Perdana Menteri turut mempunyai imuniti, sebagaimana yang dihujahkan oleh YABhg Tun Dr. Mahathir dalam menghadapi saman fitnah Anwar RM100M. Golongan diplomat juga mempunyai hak imuniti terhad. Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT) seperti DBKL dan lain-lain majlis perbandaran turut mempunyai imuniti daripada tindakan undang-undang dalam keadaan tertentu. Dengan lain perkataan, imuniti dalam melaksanakan tugas dan tanggung jawab adalah perkara biasa yang diberikan kepada pihak yang terbabit.

Jadi amat menghairankan kenapa imuniti Raja-raja sahaja yang kerap diperbincangkan di kalangan kita. Apa yang perlu dikembalikan sedangkan mereka masih dilindungi dengan imuniti dalam menjalankan tugas dan tanggung jawab mereka sebagaimana yang sepatutnya. Tujuannya adalah untuk menjaga nama baik dan sanjungan rakyat terhadap mereka seadanya.

Anonymous said...

Datuk, bagaimana kalau saya cadangkan yg Majlis Fatwa diberikan imuniti penuh. Tanggungjawab dan peranan mereka ini sama atau mungkin jauh lebih penting dari Raja2 Melayu dan Badan2 politik negera. Amanah mereka adalah dalam menegakkan dan menjelaskan undang2 Allah. Menafsirkan kekaburan yg wujud. Mereka tak ada interest lain melainkan membantu kita menjaga well-being kita orang islam di dunia dan akhirat.

Saya tersenyum lebar bila membaca usul meminta imuniti penuh utk raja2. Apatah lagi usul ini datang dari Kerabat Negeri Sembilan yg terkenal dengan kekayaan yg melimpah-ruah dan parti2 kelas atasan yg nampaknya jauh dari lunas2 Melayu dan Islam. Semoga Allah memberikan petunjuk kepada mereka.

RunnerfromKuantan

mad said...

looks like the malaysian royalties want to be the same level as the politicians as far as immunities are concerned. that's right, immunity. untouchable by the law. although it's not written as a law, we did see time and time again that malaysian politicians (from the ruling party anyway) are excempted from criminal prosecution. and now the royalties want the same privilege. while they're at it, why not ask for monthly event, travel and home improvement allowances just like the politicians have. oh i forgot, they already had it.

Mufti Murtad said...

Dato .

kalau tak berani nak siar koment pasal Raja2 kenapa Dato membuat cerita pasal Raja2.Saya masa di sekolah lagi amat takut dan hormati Raja2 terutama di Negeri saya.Tapi bila saya besar dan dengar bermacam cerita pasal Raja yang tak senonoh,maka saya rasa Kerajaan perlu lakukan sesuatu untok memelihara Institusi Raja.


Raja Baik Raja Di Sembah,Raja Jahat Raja di Senggah.

Mohd Affendi said...

Respect is something EARNED...not INHERIT..

Benarlah seperti kata2 purba Melayu..

"Raja adil Raja disembah..Raja adil Raja disanggah...."

Yang adil mempertahankan Islam & hak2 pribumi seperti diperuntukkan dlm Perlembagaan Persekutuan tetap disanjung tinggi & mulia..Daulat Tuanku!

Yang mahu imuniti utk pertahan selainnya..apa rasionalnya..apa relevannya?
Ingatlah..tiada bangsa Melayu..tiadalah Raja Melayu..jadi yang mana keutamaannya? 'survival peribadi' atau 'survival majoriti' (Melayu)?

Raja segala Raja - Al-Malikul Alamin..Ar-Rahman..Ar-Rahim.

SyedIkram said...


Zainal Ariffin Ashari said...
Datuk,
Forgive me for my ignorance, the only bad news that I've heard so far about the royals was when Stan Chart sue a NEgeri Sembilan royalty for RM1 M. Is it a biz deal went sour? Other than that, it was OK. Ada lagi yang lebih teruk unreported ke?
Salam

9:40 AM


ada lagi yang lebih teruk bro, yang dalam 1 bulan ni, ni kes antara kerabat raja jugak laa, ada satu tengku dari negeri di selatan semenanjung nun bawak bodyguard gaduh dengan kerabat dari suatu negeri di selatan selangor, tengku jugak lah, kena ketuk dengan bontot pistol, lanjutan kes gaduh kat disko. dah jadi kes polis, tapi polis pun pening macamana nak bertindak.

banyak lagi laa kes, walaupun perkara ni adalah biasa kalau nak bandingkan dengan kes rakyat biasa macam kita ni, tapi mereka ni akan jadi raja yang kita kena sembah suatu hari nanti.

macam kes seorang sultan di pantai timur yang juga sangat terkenal dengan perangai kaki judinya. bila 'baginda' (hormat sikit lah) kahwin, dengan seorang penari kelab dari london, rakyat memang buat bising la.

kalau raja tak cari masalah, isu imuniti tak perlu timbul pun, macam kita lah, tak buat salah, apa nak takut? betul tak?

mad said...

while most other countries have only one family of royalty to support (yes, we the rakyat are the ones who support them financially), malaysia on the other hand have the unfortunate burden to take care of 8, or is it 9 state royalties. i'm curious to know how much we really spend on royalties monthly. i won't be surprised if it goes into the 100s mil figure.

ab said...

Salam dato,

Kan dah ada peruntukan dalam perlembagaan dah....

Adakah perenggan `additional immunity as required' diperuntukan
juga?.

Kalau tak ada, tak perlu lah...nanti berlaku lagi kisah raja pukul orang,raja tempeleng orang,raja tipu orang dan macam-macam kerenah raja-raja laa...tak elok perkara macam itu untuk institusi raja.

Kita semua sembah raja.

Abu bakar Ab Rahman

Madam Curi said...

Dear Dato' AKJ,

I agree with what you have written. Nobody should be above the law. We honour and respect our royals but if they abuse their position then the rakyat should be defended.

Razali Razman said...

Salam Datuk,

I'm a keen follower of your blog. Regarding the hockey case, if am not mistaken, the case was about a Johor Prince, whacking the Perak Goalkeeper, for uttering something to him during the final in Sukma Johor. I played in the tournament for KL and saw the incident where the keeper was whisked away, which happened after we received our medals. The goalkeeper asked for our help but there was nothing we could do. It was scary. I really cannot see how anyone should be immune from prosecution for doing something like this.

A few years back, the prince was elected as MHF deputy president but has now been booted out. He is also the current MGA president but is facing a revolt.

eddy said...

Salam Dato'. I think Tun Mahathir did the Malay Rulers a big favor when he clarified their position in terms of immunity to being prosecuted.

You cannot have members of the Royal household getting away scot free with crimes that they commit as the Rakyat will not take too kindly to this sort of behaviour, thus knowing that they are not immune to prosecution will ensure good behaviour which will ensure the Rakyat respects the Monarchy for a long time to come.

I think Tunku Naquiyuddin's recent speech is ill judged and ill timed. One should not "menangguk di air keroh".

Anonymous said...

Dato'

If the official immunity of the Rulers are never withdrawn why is the Negri royal making the demand?

Is this an attempt to confuse the people. All that I know is since the 1993 amendments, the royalties are no longer protected if they commit crimes like beating up people and cheating their business partners.

I think the 1993 amendments make the people respect and love the Rulers more bacause now they now the Rulers cannot behave like the Malay saying "bersultan di mata beraja di hati."

I think the proposal by the Negri Royal is made in bad faith and should be opposed by all law-abiding Malaysians.

If Royals want to play politics, then they should give up their royalty status and enter politics like Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tengku Razaleigh and several others.

Demang Lebar Daun II

rocky said...

sir,

I agree with your views.Immunity is still there except for personal immunity. and the example given about choosing the PM or govt, the constitution is clear that Agong can't be sued in any capacity or in any court in discharging his royal duty. Just read the constitution and they will know that Sultan or Agong can't be sued

About Me

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I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).