LETTER | The recent article by A Kadir Jasin in his blog on the huge expenditures spent on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is one that I believe should never have raised any alarm.
It is the last thing that Inspector-General of Police Mohamed Fuzi Harun should be wasting hours of police time to investigate, when there are more urgent cases involving fugitives Jamal Mohd Yunos and Musa Aman, scandal-ridden Low Taek Jho, and the mystery behind the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh and several others, which have yet to be solved.
As a veteran journalist himself, one would expect Kadir to raise the concern that any ordinary Malaysian would express about the high cost of maintaining the palaces.
With the austerity drive, even the Agong himself had offered to take a pay cut of 10 percent. In fact, if I may also suggest, such a measure should be undertaken not only by the Agong but voluntarily by all the Royal Highnesses and their palace staff to show that the Agong and the Conference of Malay Rulers are with the people. Long live the Agong!
Kadir was appointed a spokesman for Council of Eminent Persons. However, he wrote this article in his personal capacity. If this cannot even be accepted by PKR de facto leader and prime minister-in-waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, when will we ever be a fully democratic nation?
I may be an ardent supporter of Anwar since 2008, but in this respect, I think he has gone a little too far to protect the interests of the royalties at the expense of the rakyat. It’s a difficult balancing act because, under the Federal Constitution, we have the constitutional monarchy to protect and Anwar would want to build the trust of the Conference of Malay Rulers.
As pointed out by a writer, Puthan Perumal, ‘there is a constitutional safeguard to all these rights and the Yang DiPertuan Agong has no cause for concern.”
However, I have also read through Kadir’s post again and again. Nowhere did he slander the Agong or the Conference of Malay Rulers.
As a concerned thinking person, Kadir was merely questioning the heavy expenditures on the Agong alone during former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s era.
To any ordinary Malaysian, spending a total of RM256.9 million in just 16 months is surely a huge amount. This is nearly half the cost of building the new Istana Negara, estimated at RM650 million.
After all, it is the taxpayers’ money which the former regime should be accountable for, but they had every reason to spend that amount of money just to stay in power.
While we uphold the Federal Constitution, in which the institution of the monarchy is enshrined, we urge the government henceforth to control the excesses spent on the palaces; and provide more avenues for the sultans to get close to the ordinary rakyat and endear themselves to the people.
STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.