WHILE His Majesty the King has given his consent to the dissolution of the parliament, as a nation that functions on constitutional monarchy, the impending General Election (GE) has already started with a thud.
While there is fiery rhetoric from UMNO and Barisan Nasional (BN), His Majesty’s decision has been done so with utmost reluctance.
Why is this so, and why is this beyond the slap on the wrist for UMNO and BN?
First and foremost, many tend to forget that it is the responsibility of the incumbents to work with – and not against – His Majesty the King.
Yet, the reverse has happened. The Constitution of Malaysia clearly states the he is head of the Armed Forces.
By this token, His Majesty being concerned that a GE is in the midst of a monsoon season suggests that UMNO and BN are bringing the monarchy into a risky opprobrium.
His Majesty agreeing to the dissolution albeit with “disappointment”, followed by a trip to London with the Raja Permaisuri Agong suggests that this was another Government that the monarchy has had to distance itself from.
As and when things go haywire, as any floods would, the patience and support of His Majesty’s subjects all over the country would have gone thin. Very thin.
Politicians come and go but the monarchy is part of the constitutional monarchy system. Rather quaintly, it is the monarchy that has to potentially absorb the “slings and arrows of misfortune”.
A simple English expression says it all: That is a big ask for now, tomorrow and the future with no certainty if UMNO and BN could even ensure that not one life or one state of His Majesty’s brother rulers can be sheltered, shielded and protected.
A constitutional monarchy operationalised in this form is nothing but an attempt to re-wire the DNA of the Malaysian democracy.
At this point, the Malaysian democracy – which has never experienced a coup, even a peaceful transition of power on May 9, 2018 – has had everything unravelled. Why?
First, the fate of the “court cluster” in UMNO who is trying to wriggle out from their prospective long prison sentences are making a joke out of the rule of law. The lives and view of the monarchy don’t matter.
The politicians who stand accused of multiple criminal charges suggests a breach of any normal political behaviour: politicians should not be the hot magnet for local businessmen to approach with any financial overtures.
If anything, it is the foreign institutional investors – those unfamiliar with the rules of sinking their large investment – who would raise a hue and cry and request meetings with the minister in charge to resolve their issues.
After all, money is the best coward. Even when Malaysia does avail itself of a strong return, every right-thinking foreign businessman would still want outright reassurance from the start that their businesses would be above and beyond the squalor of palm greasing. Read: Corruption.
This is why the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah – one of the rare few in the world to have a PhD in Political Economy from Harvard University – had warned that Malaysians must have zero tolerance for corruption.
Second, a GE that has been approved but not necessarily blessed by the monarch has not only started the potential renewal of Malaysia on the wrong footing but is a potential faux pas against all of which Malaysia has been blessed with.
Instead of working together as one family, caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s concept of “Keluarga Malaysia” is but an empty platitude to put the political interests of UMNO and BN ahead of even the weather that can indeed turn inclement.
Even Malaysians who have never experienced this directly cannot help but feel a deep contempt towards the decision to call for an election.
This is especially after how the floods in 2021 had brought about more than 55 deaths and 500,000 internally-displaced flood victims and resulting in a whopping loss of more than
What’s more, the Malaysian Meteorological Department had also warned that the floods this year would be harsher than what the country experienced in 2021.
Season is when all hands are on deck to protect and save those who cannot wade through the water let alone climb to the rooftop.
Instead UMNO and BN have demanded the impossible from the people: vote if you can, and don’t vote if the flood waters have started seeping into your homes and that of your neighbours’.
Third, it is one thing to engage in grand larceny of the most massive proportion where corruption and criminal breach of trusts all go beyond tens of billions of ringgit but it is another thing to tell 33 million people to lay down their lives for them either by not exercising their democratic right or getting caught in floodwaters and risk being swept away.
Even PAS, the “dark coalition partner” of UMNO has affirmed that the call for the dissolution of the Parliament seems “rushed”.
This verdict, while considerate, has not come close to understanding the sheer panic and fear of the people when the water does rush into their homes.
Indeed, may Allah save Malaysia. – Oct 13, 2022
Dr Rais Hussin is President and CEO at EMIR Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.