Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Mr Patel’s Lesson in Handling the Royals

A Kadir Jasin

PREAMBLE: Views expressed herein are entirely mine. I am writing in my personal capacity as a blogger. It has nothing to do with whatever position I may hold.

Patel helped unified independent India
IN 1946, the Malay masses rallied under the leadership of the Johorian Datuk Onn Jaafar to save the Malay Rulers from the deception of the British.

Knowing that they had lost the respect of the Malayans following their humbling defeat by the Japanese in the Second World War, the British knew that their only hope of re-establishing themselves in Malaya was to bring the Sultans to their side.

[Anonymous comments will not be published. Please use real or pseudonym. Thank you.]

They knew that only by using the Malays rulers, the Malay customs and the religion of Islam that they stood a chance of imposing their hegemony over Malaya once again.

Hence they proposed the formation of the Malayan Union that put the Malay states on par with their full-pledged colonies the Straits Settlements – Singapore, Malacca and Penang. These territories were once owned by the Malay Sultans.

In that manner, their grips over Malaya became stronger than before their defeat.

The first to agree to the proposal by Harold Alfred McMichael was the anglophile Maharaja of Johor. He was followed joyfully by other rulers and reluctantly one or two.

Incidentally Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al Masyhur Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar Al-Khalil Ibrahim Shah was also the one to oppose the independence of Malaya. He died in London in 1959.

At the time when the Malay teachers, farmers, fishermen and tradesmen were opposing the Malayan Union in order to preserve the Malay royalties and thwart the British insidious scheme, the newly independent India was dismantling its monarchies.

Apart from partition, communal riots and a refugee crisis, the independent government of India in 1946 found itself grappling with the task of integrating nearly 600 princely states into the Indian republic.

As everywhere in the world that it ruled, the British left a whole mess in India. One of which was the Indian royals who they once used to lord over the Indian masses.

In came the famous Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister who was also the deputy to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister.

He was given the task of “negotiating” with the rulers of 562 princely states – the maharajas, rajas, shahs, sultans, nawabs and you name it.

This isn’t a new story anyway – at least not for me. I had told this story before – during the two constitutional crises we had – 1983 and 1993.

Mr Patel was stoic and simple in habits. He was a man of few words but when he spoke, people listened, which was why he was given the formidable task of integrating the princely states.

Back then, the princely states covered 48% of the area of pre-Independent India and constituted 28% of its population.

While these kingdoms were not legally a part of British India but in reality they were completely subordinate to the British Crown. This story of subjugation using the royalties also happened in British Malaya.

The Indian Independence Act of 1947, which was part of the Mountbatten Plan, provided for the lapse of supremacy of the British Crown over the Indian states.

It also gave each of these rulers the option to accede to the newly born Indian republic or to Pakistan, or continue as independent sovereign states.

Realising the need to get these 500-odd chiefdoms to accede to India before the day of independence, Patel and his secretary, Menon, began using all the tricks in the bag – including force and friendly coercion – to achieve the integration.

But the process was far from simple. Mollycoddled as well as exploited by the British for decades, many of the rulers saw the departure of the British as the ideal moment to declare autonomy and announce their independence.

From invoking the patriotism of the princes to reminding them of the possibility of anarchy in the event that they refused to join, he kept trying to convince them to become part of India.

He also introduced the concept of “privy purses” – a payment to be made to royal families for their agreement to merge with India.

Patel’s tireless efforts paid off when most of the rulers agreed to the dissolution of their respective states, surrendering control of thousands of villages, jagirs, palaces, institutions, cash and a railway system of about 12,000 miles to the Indian government without receiving any compensation.

By 15 August 1947, the process of integration of princely states was almost complete except for a few, who held out.

To rein them in, Patel used anything from threat to coercion and, some said, outright bribery. After the carrots, came the big stick. The army was used to gain the surrender of some belligerent royals.

Stories were told of Patel’s shrewdness. When some recalcitrant rulers refused to continue negotiations, he cut the electricity supply to their mansions. They sweated it out. But when he cut the water supply and the mansions stink, they returned to the negotiating table.

Thus, the ever-pragmatic Patel and his brilliant secretary (Menon) accomplished the monumental task of unifying the princely states into the Indian union.

Article 1 of the Indian Constitution states that “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States”, and there is no person who can claim greater credit for the creation of modern India than Sardar Vallabhai Patel.

The Indian lesson continuous to be relevant to all nations, that still have the hereditary constitutional rulers.




Jidin said...

Thank You Dato,a good reminder to these royals...

raj raman said...

We have one Mr Patel in Malaysia.Half his DNA came from Malaysia and another half came from India call Pak Mahathir.

The problem is the THIEF party in cohoots with YELLOW MAN.The rest nothing hanging between their leg.

This time at his old Prime Age Pak Mahathir still got guts but the rest all ready to bend and kiss YELLOW MAN.

rajraman666.There is no priciple by the THIEF Party and Harapan MB expecially Johor MB.SACK THE MB who ready the Yellow Umbrella although its not raining.COWARDS.

Ismail said...


My response to all these polemics on malay rulers and the federal and or state constitutions is only ONE... behave appropriately and you will earn respect of people. You misbehave and start imposing on people to respect you ... go and fly kite.

I was told a story by a malaysian about a member of royalty who visited a town. After dinner he felt horny. The local ybs had to scramble looking for a willing local and found one workibg as a domestic helper. Next morning started to boast I have conquered the state..

Now you want me still to respect such a unwelcoming behaviour?

herman adnan said...

Perlu lebih FIRM kerana kerajaan Malaysia dipilih secara sah dari Pilihan Raya Umum
2. Sudah sampai masa mael totey dan yem anak sekandar diberi tunjuk bahawasa nya Langit itu Tinggi, bumi ni rendah sahaja.

Agenda 'NEGARA dalam Negara' @ "DEEP STATE" terutama dari selatan tanah air perlu di urus dan tackle at the very very critical serious Level before anything worst could be happened

Esa Adam said...

Ini cerita dulu2 mana boleh pakai. Sekarang rakyat dah cerdik. Siapa penipu dan perompak mereka tahu.

Mona said...

Saya ada satu saranan untuk Malaysia Baru. Apa kata kita hapuskan semua gelaran2 Datuk, Datuk Seri, Tan Seri etc untuk orang yang masih hidup? Gelaran2 ni hanya boleh diberi kepada orang yg benar2 berjasa kepada negara selepas mereka mati.

Langkah ini akan memastikan hanya orang2 yg betul2 layak mendapat gelaran. Ini juga akan menjaga imej gelaran2 itu sendiri. Kalau kita perhatikan sekarang ramai pemegang gelaran yg mencuri dan korup. Ini belum lagi yg berperangai gatal dan tidak senonoh. Sangat low class.

Langkah ini juga akan memastikan polis dan penjawat awam akan layan semua rakyat dengan adil dan saksama. Tiada special treatment.

Shame on them said...

the Sultan of Johore was reported to have offered an olive branch to soothe issues between the state govt and the palace.
According to Tan Sri Muhyiddin, the Sultan must stop interfering in the Johor state government to show the sincerity of his call today for civil discourse, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Pls try to convince the rakyat, especially Johoreans this is not all talk only.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president said he appreciated the sultan’s gesture but added that the Johor palace must also admit to its role in the hostilities with Putrajaya.

Nevertheless action must be taken on the new MB, he betrayed the very hands who appointed him as MB, even upto the point when he met Tun before the exco's swearing in. This meant he was already resolved to play the role of Judas.

A newly-minted mentri besar can become deminted.
So it is now up to the MB to seek an audience with Tun, although it is difficult to trust Sahruddin again.
What a dreadful, shameful MB he has proved to be in just a short space of time.

It's over and done said...

the Johore Sultan offered an olive branch, similarly the other rulers who were
influenced unnecessarily in the Rome Statute, the appointment of the new CJ etc.
should also follow his example and realise that the supreme law is in the Federal Constitution.

There is no need to place undue burden on the govt, the rakyat is already suffering the trauma of rising above the financial chaos caused by the previous regime and the govt is doing it's best to let us have a better day and tommorrow.

So let's not have any further hassle, issues, delays in the new CJ's appointment.

Labu8455 said...

Dato, may be Malaysia should do something similar to what Patel did and we can get started with the southern state first...

Mr brown said...

The British goverment should have bring Mr Patel back to Great Britain to sort out their monarchy problem as well.

Tom_harmoni said...

I'm not sure I agree with you on many points but still a fascinating historical article. It does seem somewhat odd (to me at least) that Tun Dr Mahathir seems to have a unhealthy obsession with the Royals of Malaysia and this is detracting from his energies and focus to run the country effectively. Perhaps this may be contributing to his falling ratings and losses in by-elections. What most Malaysians care about is surviving/prospering in these difficult times. Costs for most things seem to be going through the roof while their wages stay the same and the rich lord it over them with their glamorous lifestyles displayed on instagram. Dr Mahathir has rescued Malaysia from the jaws of a crocodile but should now be putting his doubtless abilities to solving these problems rather than squabbling with rulers, whatever the rights or wrongs may be.

Not acceptable said...


Wasn't only one name Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat submitted by Tun to the Agong?

Why is there now another choice? Is this another case of interference in the people's choice?
If this is true, surely the rakyat will know that the rule of law is once again at risk.

Senior Federal Court judge Azahar Mohamed is likely to be appointed the next chief justice, the post left vacant following the retirement of Richard Malanjum, sources said.

A source said the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) submitted two additional names following a request by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad early this month.
The JAC had earlier proposed only one name for the post.

Was Tun pressured to do so? Totally unacceptable.
If this is true, similar to the new Johore MB case, interference all over again.

A Malay said...

It is a good lesson for Johor royal families who think they are above the law. I urge our Parliament to make a law, to abdicate the power of a recalcitrant Sultan.

Zed-85 said...

Sallam Dato’

Malaysia mengamalkan Raja Berperlembagaan.(Constitutional Monarchy)

Ada dua perkataan, pertama Raja, kedua Perlembagaan.

Raja adalah Raja, tetapi perlembagaan adalah satu dokumen yang hidup (living document). Dengan makna yang lain, perlembagaan boleh diubah oleh kuasa yang diberikan rakyat.

Dalam negara kita, perlu ada 2 per 3 majoriti dalam parlimen untuk mengubah perlembagaan.

Perlembagaan juga adalah undang-undang yang paling tinggi sekali dalam negara, mengatasi undang-undang negeri dan yang lain-lain.

Perlembagaan pernah diubah untuk melupuskan kekebalan raja pada tahun 90’an oleh kerana sebab-sebab tertentu.

Walaupun apa pun persepsi yang ada, raja adalah manusia. Ini adalah kenyataan yang patut diterima. Manusia tidak akan terkecuali dengan sifat-sifat kelemahan-kelemahan manusia. Kita boleh rujuk dalam sejarah zaman lalu, memang ada raja-raja yang luar biasa zalimnya.

Kalaulah rakyat mahukan perlembagaan menyatakan dengan jelas bahwa MB dan exco dilantik oleh parti yang menang seperti mana di negara maju. Ini boleh dilakukan.

Yang penting bagi saya, kuasa sebenar adalah di tangan rakyat.

Kalau rakyat hendak jatuhkan kerajaan BN, boleh. Kalau rakyat hendak jatuhkan kerajaan Pakatan. Ini pun boleh.

Tapi rakyat mesti sedar bahwa, rakyat ada kuasa. Masalahnya, banyak rakyat yang tidak sedar bahwa mereka yang berkuasa.

Rakyat negara raja berperlembagaan seperti UK, Jepun, Norway, Belgium sudah tidak lagi berfikir secara feudal. Rakyat negara kita pun mesti berfikir mengikut peredaran tamaddun manusia.

Kalau tidak, kita akan setiasa terbelengu dan terikat dengan masalah-masalah yang bukan-bukan yang tidak timbul di negara-negara yang maju.


Dear debaters,

1. Agree that what is more important to the people is a better living standard.

2. But the rule of law and justice are also important.

3 How can there be rule of law, justice and prosperity when people of privilege like the rulers and their family members compete with the ordinary rakyat, especially Bumiputeras, for contracts and concessions

4. If the rulers get involved in business this is what is going to happen. The majority of the Bumiputeras who are poor and would not dare to go against the rulers will lose out.

5. But the big businessmen from at home and abroad may not care. They will work with whoever with power for as long they benefit.

6. Also when rulers do business with such people, they are actually equal in the eyes of the law. The same business and corporate laws apply to both of them.

7. I have been on the subject of Constitutional Monarchy with Tun Dr Mahathir since the first constitutional amendment in 1983. He is not anti-monarchy. On the contrary he wants the Constitutional Monarchy to survive.

8. But if the rulers or a few of them insist on doing the people thing like involving themselves politics and business or committing crimes, the rakyat may one day no longer have respect for the institution.

9. Lastly I apologize for rejecting all comments that are inconsistent with the constitution in particular the constitutionality of the rulers.

Thank you.

Turncoats said...

very clear there is a deeper hand and a deep state on the ongoings at Bersatu JB.

It was reported all 26 Division heads of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in Johor today expressed their support to Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal on his appointment as the new Johor Menteri Besar.

Johor Bersatu deputy chairman Senator Ir Mohd Nasir Hashim, said the support by the Divison heads of the party in Johor was decided at a meeting they had with Dr Sahruddin, at the party’s Johor Office at Kempas, here today.

Who "persuaded" these heads to come together, the timing is important.
Only after it was reported that the Johore Exco can submit a no-confidence vote?
Only after it was reported by several analysts the coming party Bersatu polls could see the downfall of the new MB for his betrayal?
Did Sahruddin beg for their support?
Thus to shore up his position, one or two highly placed parties acting in concert in defiance of Bersatu and PH's displeasure of the new MB decided to turn up the flames?

Your guess is as good as mine, internal turncoats and external parties.

Mona said...

"... the rakyat may one day no longer have respect for the institution."

Bukan "one day" lagi Pak Kadir.. more like now. I was once a supporter of the institution. I thought it can provide check and balance if the politicians went rogue. Jib and 1MDB opened my eyes. I honestly did not factor in collusion. Bagai sudah jatuh di timpa tangga.

budak jawa said...

Aslm dakj,

Saya setuju dengan tun m dan dato dalam perkara ini. Saya akan menyokong sebarang usaha untuk menegakkan rule of law dan melawan anasir-anasir yang mengancam kedaulatan undang-undang.

Dari kaca mata sosial, memang ada golongan yang dipandang lebih tinggi atau diletakkan untuk dipandang lebih tinggi status sosialnya berbanding golongan yang lain. Namun, dari kaca mata undang-undang, semua orang adalah sama tidak kira raja, menteri, orang kaya mahupun rakyat biasa. Ia mesti kelihatan begitu dan dilaksanakan sebegitu.

Ibarat anak, ditegur, dimarah dan adakala dipukul untuk mendidik atas dasar kasih sayang semoga mereka menjadi manusia yang bermanfaat dan berbakti bukan kerana benci atau ingin menghapuskan. Begitulah golongan istimewa yang satu, perlu ada orang yang memberitahu kesalahan mereka dan jika perlu mengambil tindakan supaya mereka kekal menjalankan fungsi yang diamanahkan dan tidak menjadi kebencian rakyat.


Jojo said...


The future of royalties in Malaysia depends on how the ones down south behave.

Enough said.

Thank you IGP Mohd Fuzi said...


fully agree! PRIME Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today thanked Mohamad Fuzi Harun for his service as inspector-general of police.

“I received a courtesy farewell visit from Tan Sri Fuzi Harun, the Inspector-General of Police who will end his service this Saturday. Thank you and highest appreciation for his service,” Dr Mahathir said on Facebook today.

The rakyat owes a huge debt to Mohd Fuzi as IGP in ensuring the transition of power from the Najib regime to the PH govt was without any turmoil or bloodshed.
This in my mind is Fuzi's greatest national service to the nation, recognising the will of the people and the rule of law.

Cap Kapak said...


You are right. Now, we are navigating in unprecedented territory in the history of Malaysia. Economic-wise we are stink, but improving a lot by the efforts of Tun, still, a lot more to go. My long-standing belief that the Sultans and Agong are the last saviours if the Prime Minister tramples the rights of Bumiputra, or rule like a tyrant was shattered after the advent of IMDB when no reaction from the Sultans to show their dismay or disgust. Only the statement from the rulers' something to such effect: "The board of rulers are disturbed by the problems of IMDB. We hope that the government would resolve the matter asap and a satisfactory resolution can be found."

Nothing happened after that until came the mother of all past elections May 2018. Now my hopes and dreams or even respect towards rulers have quashed into thousand pieces. My idealism of what they should and could be, does not exist anymore. They are merely as good as visiting the kampongs when the kampongs are flooded or experience any mishap, or officiating masjid during the Ramadan.

Until they prove me wrong, my respect towards them is as good as milking the public money to live a life of comfort and marry Caucasian beauty.

Cows laugh at him said...

it is now Habibul to feel the flames of his own lies.

His name cropped up last Wednesday when his lawyer Ashraf Abdul Razak took the stand.

Ashraf told the court former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak had issued a cheque amounting to RM2.5 million to his law firm, although the money was meant for the businessperson.

The lawyer said he had received instructions to disburse the money to Habibul's wife and children.

Today in his testimony, Habibul said "it is not for my purposes. It is for political defence operations, used (to obtain) political intelligence and political goodwill..."

The cows go home laughing all the way.

Gobind's challenge said...

the faster, the earlier done the better.

The launching of visual radio by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) is the broadcaster’s new direction to move in tandem with transformation of the media.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said the move was in line with the government’s aim to harness new technology pertaining to radio and television broadcasting in delivering important information quickly and accurately.

“Under this initiative, we bring radio broadcasts visually, that is, what is happening at the radio station can be seen ‘live’ via television.

“This is a new thing, meaning recordings of special interviews can be done at state radio stations and thus there is no need to come to studios in Kuala Lumpur (Angkasapuri),” he said at the mini launch of a programme to upgrade RTM radio stations at Wisma Berita, Angkasapuri today.

Under the programme, radio broadcasts will be streamed ‘live’on TV via social media and broadband platforms.

Gobind, you should do better than that, use 5G technology to beam pictures, interviews of Tun Mahathir and his team to reach every corner of the kampongs and cities. This is the tomorrow technology which is already part and parcel of today's versatile social media.

raj raman said...

marry Caucasian?

rajraman666.Cewek Melayu tak laku loh.
Esok Half Caucasian will be the Man in Yellow Cloth championing Malays rights and Ulama.

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).