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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.