Letter to editor
IN A recent interview with the Singapore Straits Times, Johor ruler and our future Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has expressed his thoughts for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and national oil corporation PETRONAS to be answerable to him.
Additionally, Sultan Ibrahim who will be appointed Malaysia’s 17th YDPA effective Jan 31, 2024 is also keen to oversee the appointment of judges which is seen as a viable alternative to preserve the reputable image of MACC, PETRONAS and the judiciary.
The public has always felt that PETRONAS was used by the previous governments to mismanage the huge amount of money which runs into trillions of ringgit. Likewise, the MACC has its fair share of being accused of being bias by charging individuals selectively.
As these two institutions of the government are vital to the country’s socio-economic growth and development, it is perhaps high time for the government to re-visit the Federal Constitution which may not provide provisions for ‘royal intervention’ as pointed out by twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The country’s financial management over the past 66 years since independence is in very undesirable state as glaringly pointed out in the annual auditor’s report or the Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index.
According to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s public sector debt as of end-June 2023 had risen 4% to RM1.54 tril on the account of higher federal government debt which constituted 74.3% of total debt.
What does all these occurrences indicate? Are we mismanaging the country’s wealth while corruption is allowed to rear its ugly head and become a norm?
Politicians in Malaysia are no longer respected and honoured as they were during the yesteryears even though they may carry the Yang Berhormat tag.
To elevate the reputation of the afore-mentioned agencies/institutions, drastic measures must be taken to safeguard the country from Machiavellian politicians and their masters to whom they are answerable.
As such, the King or the monarchy who is non-political in character should be utilised as the ‘third eye’ to repair the tarnished and tarred image of these agencies/institutions.
The Johor ruler’s suggestion should be looked into seriously by the unity government even if the Federal Constitution needs to be amended. The power and role of the monarch which was reduced during the Mahathir administration must be revived and reinstated to its original glory and glamour.
A constitutional monarch is a “sign of God” if blended with political democracy in correct balance. Otherwise, politicians by their nature will hijack it in tune with their whims and fancies which explains our current scenario.
After decades of having a constitutional monarch being made a “rubber stamp”, perhaps the time is ripe to reverse such role into one of check and balance to calm our volatile political democracy.
Though negative narratives were spewed about the monarchs by politicians, it could be high time to restore their rightful role and responsibilities even if that entails amending the Federal Constitution.
Will it be too much to assume that Malaysians trust their constitutional monarchs more than the politicians given time and again they have been poorly administering or even impoverishing this country which is blessed with an abundance of natural resources? – Dec 13, 2023
K. Tamil Maran
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.