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Human rights group: Royals should stay out of gov’t policies

Fion Yap
Published:  |  Modified:

The royal institution in Malaysia should remain outside of politics and, as such, should not be involved in ruling and in government policies, international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

The New York-based NGO stated that this was because the rulers were not elected, but remained constitutional monarchs, while the state and federal governments were elected.

As such, said HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson, the rulers should “remain above politics and should not be making governing policies”.

He said this when responding to a query regarding the recent conflict between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar as well as his son, the Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim over various government decisions.

These include federal policies such as Putrajaya’s decisions to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court - both of which have since been reversed - as well as state-level affairs including the appointment of the new Johor menteri besar.

“I like Prime Minister Mahathir’s initial response, that the sultan is not elected, and that an election (to a post) has consequences. The...monarchy is supposed to be a constitutional monarchy, they are not supposed to be involved in ruling.

“This (Pakatan Harapan government) is an elected government, they should be allowed to proceed with policies and plans,” he said at the sidelines of a joint press conference with Amnesty International Malaysia in Petaling Jaya today.

Meanwhile, in response, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim deemed the NGO “ignorant” for its statement concerning the royals and the latter’s role concerning Islam and the Malays.

“Human Rights Watch must understand (the) royals have a responsibility towards Islam and Malay privileges. That’s under the (Federal) Constitution.

“So to suggest they stay away from state matters shows ignorance,” he tweeted.

 

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