Azril Mohd Amin
(Azril Mohd Amin is a lawyer and the vice-president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim).
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It seems the ‘protective’ function of democratic government has gone the way of corruption.
In Malaysia, the ROYALTY has become involved in the struggle for a two-party democracy, which Malaysia along with most other Muslims nations, has never known.
The problem with kings and one-party democracy is that corruption has no checks and balances if the incumbent powers have no fear of losing their access to the riches and privileges of government, through public elections.
The function of ROYALTY in the modern ‘age of democracy’ has evolved to be the repository of incorruptibility soaring above and beyond the democratic struggles, from which position they try to reassure the citizenry that ‘right’ will triumph over ‘might’.
However, if any ROYAL patron shows favouritism of any sort down on the ground of democratic processes, he or she has lost the integrity and incorruptibility that is so important as an anchor in times of struggle and instability, such as we all face today.
It would appear that a certain royal preference has been expressed in favour of the ruling coalition in Malaysia. Now whether or not this is evidence of royal corruption, favouritism to democratic parties on the ground will always be viewed as compromising the integrity of the ROYALTY.
This is why they must remain neutral, and BE SEEN to remain neutral.
In Malaysia, the confusion as to who actually holds the top executive power in Perak has now been referred to the Federal Court.
Royalty suffers yet again in becoming beholden to the judiciary, which is not right.
Between ROYALTY and Judiciary, which would be the more easily ‘bought’?
If we do not render our ROYALTY as figureheads only, if we wish them to recover their long and honourable history of safeguarding the moral fibre of the nation, how can we avoid the American mistake of declaring them entirely illegal? The American constitution criminalises the use of any and all royal titles or rank.
It won’t help to subject royal decision to judicial review. If a mistake has been made, it is the responsibility of the PEOPLE themselves to enlighten the ROYALS involved, and this can best be done through a public vote or referendum.
If the sultan forbids or pre-empts such referendum, it may become difficult in the modern democratic age to rescue Malaysia’s ROYALTY from their demise to purely ceremonial duties.
Fascism raises its ugly head if the coalition-in-power also obstructs the universal suffrage of public election, or goes so far as to criminalise the people’s legitimate right to assemble and try to correct the situation.
Parliaments meet at the PEOPLES' pleasure, NOT the pleasure of the King or the ruling coalition, whose obstruction of assemblies in which they obviously lack the security of a majority rule, inevitably will be characterised as fascist.
And that is the danger we face, unless the ROYALTY can redefine its present position as caretakers of the public will and preference, instead of opposing it.
In other words, the long-standing Malay phobia for admitting mistakes publicly must be overcome.
American leaders have had no problems in doing so. Both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have apologised publicly for one thing or another. The people’s respect for these leaders has been increased, not damaged, by such admissions.
When asked by Aisha (Radiyallahu ‘anha) why he was exerting himself so arduously in worship, when Allah had forgiven any mistakes he may have committed; Rasulullah (saw) responded by saying, "Should I not then love to be a thankful servant?" (Mutaffaqun ‘Alayhi)
Surely the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) is Malaysia’s best guide out of her present confusion and insecurity. All parties in the dispute owe us, the citizenry, apologies for their many mistakes of recent days, and, more important, owe their regret and remorse to Allah swt.
And, InsyaAllah, these political and ROYAL leaders alike must be seen to feel genuine remorse for their mistakes.
This is the only possible path to regenerating an enlightened and incorruptible royalty for the new Malaysia.
-Azril Mohd Amin