On the brink of emergency: How constitutional monarchy saved Malaysia

While there is a logical and rational reason for an emergency, it would also entail disastrous effects on the economy

pic by BERNAMA

RECENT events over the weekend, and its subsequent resolve, have shown us the need for an effective check and balance to the politicians in the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat — and why Malaysians are lucky to have a constitutional monarch helming our country.

On Oct 23, the Cabinet of Malaysia had agreed to consider a declaration of an emergency as Covid-19 cases were rising rapidly around the country — which would allow the suspension of the Parliament and postponement of any elections, as well as empower the federal government to push through policies without the need for voting.

While there is a logical and rational reason for an emergency, in light of the incessant politicking among the politicians, it would also entail disastrous effects on the economy, with foreign investors pulling out and the wellbeing of our people continuing to slide for the worse, as well as the image of our country globally.

Calling an emergency, in short, is a serious matter to consider — as we had only called for a nationwide emergency twice: During Konfrontasi and the May 13 race riots.

Fortunately, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (picture), following a discussion with the Malay Rulers and taking into account the country’s situation, decided against it.

Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may issue a Proclamation of Emergency if His Highness is satisfied that a grave emergency exists.

As the current government has been handling the pandemic well under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, there is no need for an emergency to be declared.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also reiterated his belief that the government would continue to enact sound policies, and called on all politicians to stop disrupting the stability we have and to support Budget 2021 as we fight Covid-19.

In grappling with the reality of the pandemic, leaders everywhere should prioritise the people first — which was further highlighted by the Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

In his statement, Tunku Ismail also underlined the role of the monarchy in providing the necessary checks and balances needed in times like these.

The focus should be on the welfare of the people and ensuring that the economy recovers efficiently, as Tunku Ismail wisely pointed out.

While the role of the monarchy should not be questioned as it has been enshrined in our Constitution and make-up, now more than ever it has further proven its vital role in providing check and balance.

Politicians are often tempted by their desire to cling power, and we are not infallible human beings after all.

We have, from time to time, witnessed various political crises. However, the Malay Rulers form the vital royal institution that serves to ensure the nation’s stability, and protect it from internal and external threats that may affect this — and the royal institution throughout the various political crises that happened in our nation served as an effective check and balance mechanism.

The wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers have shown us that we are fortunate to have such a dynamic governance system — a constitutional monarchy with a democratic Parliament, which will ensure both continued stability as well as the freedom to vote.

Tunku Ismail’s statement, echoed by the statement released by The Keepers of the Rulers Seal, also highlighted the importance of this institution in ensuring that the people’s voices and welfare are prioritised for generations to come.

Daulat Tuanku.

Syed Kamal

The views expressed are of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the newspaper’s owners and editorial board.