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Malay rulers have neglected duties as protectors

I refer to the Malaysiakini report March 8 emboldens monarchy .

It was indeed inspiring to read Negeri Sembilan Regent Tunku Naquiyuddin Tuanku Jaffar's speech recently where he spoke about an ‘emboldened monarchy’, the ‘electorate displaying its displeasure’ and the ‘role of royalty’.

Malaysians have been waiting and hoping for this intervention for a very long time and, while it is most definitely late in coming, this intervention is very much welcomed and appreciated by all thinking Malaysians.

Please allow me to, however, state a citizen's view about the role and absence of the Malay rulers based on recent occurrence sin our once proud and respected country.

The Malay rulers wear ceremonial clothes with a kris , a symbol of courage and honour. It is thus expected that a Malay ruler is bold and honourable.

And as such, I offer that in not intervening aggressively and earlier in the sad state of affairs in our fine country, the rulers have neglected their duties as protectors of their people.

Where were the rulers when a fellow Malay and Muslim was falsely accused of sodomy and charged in court, over proceedings that made us the laughing stock of the Eastern world?

Where were they when their citizens were attacked and beaten by brutal police, and when even a child was arrested while trying to accompany her mother in the pursuit of justice ?

Where did they disappear to when their own member of royalty was arrested and locked-up for merely asking questions that everyone needs answers too?

Where was this boldness when places of worship were being torn down by the very same authorities who turned an accommodating blind eye to brothels and illegal casinos? Did the religion say it was important to prevent people from worshiping a false god but okay to allow them to gamble and collude in acts of prostitution?

Where were they when the entire country watched, aghast, as video evidence was shown on national television of a senior lawyer colluding with the chief justice on the appointments of judges, a role the rulers themselves were supposed to be directly involved in ?

Where were they when a former VVIP diverted huge amounts of EPF and Petronas funds to save companies owned by his son?

Where were these Muslims when a cabinet minister swore on the Holy Book that she was innocent and was subsequently proven to have lied?

Now, however, the rulers have come forward to play their true role in the country but they also want immunity. Tunku Naquiyuddin compares Malay rulers to monarchs in other countries and laments that the Malay rulers are the only monarchs who do not enjoy the immunity their peers around the world enjoy.

Dear esteemed regent, monarchs in other countries did not (at least, not in civilised times) shoot at drivers who overtook their cars.

Neither did their royal children go to schools where teenage students were playing hockey and demand that ‘No 2 and No 18 be brought to the palace tonight’ or go to nightclubs and have their bodyguards tell a man that his wife needed to spend the night at the palace for the ruler's pleasure.

Immunity has its immense privileges but, unfortunately, along with it comes responsibility. Rulers need to display that they are able to act responsibly before they can ask for immunity to be re-established and they need to show that they will collectively take responsible and appropriate action when one of their brethren acts in violation of the inherent expectations of this freedom.

March 8 was more than the embolding of the monarchs. March 8 emboldened the entire nation. March 8 showed that in our country, despite the vast government agencies and machineries employed against one man, truth and justice would prevail.

March 8 showed Malaysians that we have a chance to liberate ourselves and show the world that we can remake ourselves.

March 8 has shown us that ‘Malaysia Boleh’ can truly mean something else.