Former minister and sociocultural advisor to the government, Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.
--fotoBERNAMA (2018) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
By Erda Khursyiah Basir
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Malaysians have been reminded not to belittle or insult the dignity of the institution of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and monarchy as they are an integral part of Malaysia's sovereignty.
Former minister and sociocultural advisor to the government Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, who issued the reminder, said the authorities should take firm action against those who try to exploit the matter in their bid to become a "hero".
The resignation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong last Sunday should not be politicised, he said. He also urged Malaysians to refrain from saying or doing anything that would taint the reputation of the monarchy and the nation.
"I find that all matters related to this development (resignation of the King) took place in an orderly manner in line with the constitution. There is no need for any party to try to champion the issue and degrade the dignity of Tuanku on social media.
"However, there are certain people who are deliberately expressing views that are not constructive and don't contribute to the nation's harmony," he told Bernama yesterday, adding that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the police should take stern action against the irresponsible parties.
Rais, who was former Information, Communications and Culture Minister, said MCMC can take action under the relevant sections of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 to curb people from doing anything deemed to be immoral.
Sultan Muhammad V was installed as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 24, 2017, after taking his oath of office on Dec 13, 2016.
The resignation of the King is the first in the history of Malaysia which practices the system of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
Rais also said that acts regarded as provocative and an insult to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can be nipped in the bud by monitoring websites and pages that carry content that is considered seditious and can cause disunity among the people.
"We've to prove to the people of this country and the outside world that we are serious about this matter," he said.
Stressing the need for the people to have a better understanding of constitutional monarchy, he said: "We cannot take this (provocation and insulting the King) lightly. It's not just about the person who is the King and resides at Istana Negara but the fact that this person, the King, represents all the citizens of this country.
"Those who belittle the institution of monarchy, however, don't see the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as a part of our nation's sovereignty."
Rais also pointed out that the institution of monarchy itself has a role to play to ensure that the system of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy continue to flourish in the face of the increasingly challenging times, as well as the younger generation and foreigners who reside in this country who do not understand the concept of constitutional monarchy.
"The rulers must create an internal code of ethics. There must be discipline in the institution. Those who are more influential must play a big role and protect it (institution of monarchy) from being tainted.
"The rulers and the people must cooperate to ensure that the institution of monarchy continues to flourish and is not belittled by any party that has no interest (in the institution) or has the credibility to defend it," he said.
CONSTITUTION NOT VIOLATED
Political analyst Profesor Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed, meanwhile, said the people should stop speculating why the King stepped down and who his successor would be because the resignation did not contravene the Federal Constitution.
It was not something unusual although it has not happened before in the history of this nation.
"The Yang di-Pertuan Agong's resignation was executed in a polite manner and announced in a statement issued by Istana Negara.
"The process of electing the next King is also being carried out in accordance with the constitution, so there should be no issue of casting aspersions on anyone, especially the institution of monarchy," he said.
Ahmad Martadha, who is a lecturer at Universiti Utara Malaysia's College of Law, Government and International Studies, said the government should act fast in dealing with those who insult the institution of monarchy because if left uncontrolled, their fervour would not only become a culture but also threaten the harmony of this country.
"Those who are irresponsible should be brought to justice and charged under the Sedition Act 1948, " he said.
He also proposed that this act be amended to include a lese-majeste clause, similar to Thailand's lese-majeste law which forbids anyone from insulting the monarchy.
Under Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, those who defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent or the regent will be punished with a jail term of between three and 15 years.
Translated by Rema Nambiar