The Royal Palace is in a state of delirium as NST reported today that an − unusual and unscheduled − meeting was held among the Rulers on Wednesday night (Jan 2).
Sources confirmed with the daily about the unofficial meeting and it is learned that there would be a three-day Conference of Ruler. The first day was attended by nine rulers, while the second day would be joined by governors. Prime Minister, menteris besar and chief ministers would attend on the third day.
The meeting came shortly after Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, ended his duties as the acting Yang di-Pertuan Agong on December 31. Sultan Muhammad V was on a two-month leave to receive medical treatment overseas but foreign media reports and photographs claimed that the King had wed a former Russian beauty queen in Moscow. Istana Negara had yet to deny or confirm the royal marriage.
Citing sources, NST wrote that the meeting among the Rulers is rare and that it was to discuss a “serious” matter regarding the monarchy.
“Such meetings are usually held once or twice a term, and normally it is to discuss something important. There was no such meeting last year,” said a source, while another added, “Yes, the meeting was held last night. A serious matter was discussed. We want to know where we are heading concerning this matter.”
The source declined to confirm if the King was present during the meeting. They also told the daily that “the normal Wednesday meeting” with the Prime Minister to present Cabinet papers to the King did not take place.
NST linked it to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s blog post which published on the same night, titled “Rule of Law”. In it, Dr Mahathir said the public has the rights to lodge complaints against those who break the law regardless of their position or title.
“The rule of law applies to everyone, from the rulers to the prime minister and ministers, to civil servants and ordinary citizens.
“There is no provision which exempts anyone from the rule of law. For the rulers, there is a special court, but the laws are the same as the laws applicable to ordinary citizens.
“The rulers too must respect the laws,” wrote the premier which is also shared on Facebook.
In a press conference today (Jan 4), Dr Mahathir commented on the rumours surrounding the King where social media posts are claiming that Sultan Muhammad V could be renouncing his throne.
“Like you, I’ve heard rumours. I have not received any letter or any official indication about anything.
“So I am not going to talk about all this,” The Star quoted the premier as saying.
When asked if the King is back to work, Dr Mahathir affirmed by saying “as far as I know”.
The tension between Dr Mahathir and the monarch can be traced all the way back to his previous tenure. According to a report by FMT titled “Mahathir’s conflicts with royalty: A history”, the then acting premier pushed through several amendments to allow Prime Minister to declare an emergency with less restrictions and set a 30-day limit for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to veto a law.
Following the carefully coordinated campaign to pressure the rulers to assent to the amendments, the Malay rulers experienced a decrease in power whereby the Parliament no longer needed the Royal consent to enact the law.
The opposition at the time alleged that Dr Mahathir wanted to enhance his power during an emergency. Eventually, Dr Mahathir reached a compromise and had given back more control to the mornach, such as the King’s right to declare an emergency and power to delay legislation for 60 days.
In 1993, the Parliament amended Article 182 of the Federal Constitution and set up Special Court for the Rulers, all of which is to remove the immunity of the Malay rulers. Sultans and the Agong are indictable to criminal prosecution since then.
Before the 14th General Election, the crown prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, asked his fellow Johoreans not to vote for Dr Mahathir’s coalition because “I know things you don’t know.” He accused Dr Mahathir of trying to diminish Sultans’ power.