Its the Agong’s call or its a republican coup against the palace

The many interpretations of the constitution by academics and politicians in Malaysia in recent days is all about who should and who should not be prime minister in the context of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong’s powers  (King or YDPA). These discussions appears to be an exercise in intellectual skirmishes and navel gazing rather than in proper informed academic discourse.

A difficulty in achieving consensus, consistency and predictability in interpreting Malaysia’s constitution, is explained in Andrew Harding’s “The Constitution of Malaysia”. In one of the chapters of his book he correctly and succinctly addresses the core problem that exists with Malaysia’s constitution. It is to be found in a fundamental flaw arising from a critical omission by drafters of the Malaysian constitution.

Malaysia’s constitution suffers from a fundamental drafting oversight, a defect, in so far as the constitution makes no mention nor provides a guide to constitutional interpretation. There is no legislation either codifying the critical subject of constitutional interpretation or even mentioning it in the constitution. The result is that when judges are seized with a constitutional problem in Malaysia, they approach it as if it were an ordinary piece of legislation as if it were the penal code, the family law act or the corporation’s law.

The preamble to the Malaysian constitution may refer to the constitution as the “supreme law of the land” which  in truth is an American import rather than a factual description of what the constitution really is.

A law (if the constitution is indeed a superior law) is defined as a command of the sovereign (either in parliament or by the King himself) the breach of which carries with it punitive sanctions. None of these qualities are evident in the Malaysian constitution nor can it be supported by the confused rhetoric advanced by Malaysian academics, commentators or jurists alike.

Secondly, Malaysia’s constitutional framework was imported from Britain as was Fiji’s, India’s Sri Lankas, Nigeria’s and Granada’s as an example. The constitution itself necessarily imports the conventions of the British constitution (the unwritten parts of it). At the feet of every constitution is laid the conventions that effectively underpin its foundations.

In the case of the Malaysian and other commonwealth constitutions they are necessarily pinned down by the conventions imported from the English model without which these other constitutions in their written form are meaningless and profoundly unstable. In Malaysia’s case the absence of the constitutional interpretation contributes to this problem of confusion in interpretation.

The YDPA’s prerogative powers are quite potent and powerful in that are the residual powers of a King which although over time may have fallen into disuse like the Queen’s have, if revived in certain exceptional circumstances may override parliament, the executive branch and judiciary and all their individual and collective powers.

The appointment of a prime minister during a parliamentary term is the prerogative of the YDPA to exercise. Similarly the appointment of a candidate elected or otherwise to the post of prime minister is the prerogative power of the YDPA, although such a precedent has not been identified in Malaysia’s very recent history and its experience with its Anglican constitution as imposed on a largely non Christian polity.

It is not necessary (although the convention) that the party with most seats in parliament will necessarily have the prime minister of the day appointed by the YDPA from its ranks. This follows on from the British constitution and its conventions. And if the history of such exceptional events is to be scrutinized it is not difficult to understand why this makes sense.

The conventions of the constitution are lodged between the enumerated, express, implied and concurrent powers of the YDPA, the states, the executive and parliament. Many Malaysian commentators on the federal constitution rely on those express powers written into the constitution as a document, whilst ignoring the power, depth and significance of the YDPA’s extensive reserve powers in the conventions.

In the context of the current attempts by members of a dysfunctional and unruly opposition to unseat the current prime minister, lies a group of malcontents bent on diluting the powers of the YDPA and the Raja Raja Melayu to create a republic which will in fact displace the Malays, their rights and privileges. That is their fundamental objective. It is to disassemble the protection of their religion (Islam) and their cultural links with the Raja Raja Melayu in order to weaken the Malays as a whole. It is designed to destroy the deeply rooted cultural link between the Malays as a society and to their protectors reposited in the YDPA and the Raja Raja Melayu in the constitution.

The caravan of Lawan and the Berish’s, all of whom whilst espousing the virtues of a foreign funded revolution and republicanism in Malaysia and claim to be aspirants to greater democratic freedoms, represent neither in numbers, nor the strength, nor the values and virtues of that vast cross section of Malaysian they claim to represent.

These are but late converts to the notion of liberal democracy. Having only lately acquired the veneer of disruptive liberal democracy from the west which they have read via social media or during their student days in the west now attempt to deceive with their unlawful street protests and poison letters from the King as if these are original concepts of their own making. Far from it.

Oddly enough these same western nations who spawned these ‘revolutionary’ concepts now seek to discard them in favor of something more authoritarian and race centric especially in Europe and the US.

In Malaysia they promote such political culture via Lawan and Berish via the same tired and discredited warhorses like Ambiga, Anwar, Marina and her fallen father idol Tun Dr. Mahathir. And there is no shortage of converts to ape the west of 30-40 years ago now presented to us in these small but loud enclaves – Again Lawan and Bersih.

When circumstances make it convenient for them the Anwars and Mahathirs (two rotten peas in a pod) they publicly embrace the pluralism and inclusive models of democracy. And when not, mass arrests and riotous and illegal assemblies of destabilization follow. (Mahathir, Anwar and 20 years of Mahathirsm). They embrace these political concepts of democracy and constitutional government (even though they do not quite understand it sufficiently for them to speak authoritatively about the subject, whilst their record in government supports the practice of fascism, totalitarianism and dictatorial government (Mahathir’s admissions in 2018).

Inspite of it all, Malaysia urban elitists the so called educated go along with the hollow rhetoric of the likes of Anwar and Mahathir not realizing how it damages their intellectual, moral and academic integrity in the process.

As for Anwar and Mahathir the words of English Postmaster General in 1911(then a cabinet post), Charles Hobhouse come to mind immediately: “Ill mannered, boastful, unprincipled and without any redeeming features”.

If Malaysians falls for the same trick twice, there’s something for them to consider;

fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

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