I am always smiling when someone talks about the past ....
Umno's 1993 blitzkrieg against the sultans
K Pragalath Mar 6, 09 10:05am
In recent times, Umno leaders have accused their political rivals of betraying the sultans. If history is recalled, it was Umno, formed to protect the interest of the Malay rulers, which criticised the rulers in a prelude to the tabling of the constitutional amendment in 1993. This was followed by stripping the rulers of their immunity and privileges. Criticism against the Malay rulers was evident way back in 1990 and ended only after the constitutional amendment was passed.
Chain of events
The crisis was triggered on Nov 30, 1992 when hockey coach James Gomez was assaulted by the Raja Muda (Regent). Several months earlier, on July 10 the Tunku Bendahara of Johor, Tunku Majid assaulted Perak hockey goalkeeper, Mohamed Jaafar Selvaraja Mohamed Vello. Abdul Aziz Bari in the article, ‘The 1993 Constitutional Crisis: A Redefinition of the Monarchy’s Role and Position?’ from the book Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia -The First 50 Years 1957-2007 (edited by Andrew Harding and HP Lee) said it all started in 1987 when Umno was declared illegal.
That contributed to Umno losing Kelantan in the 1990 general election. And this led to public attacks on the Sultan’s alleged abuse of power in furthering business interests as well as allegations of the royalty’s involvement in politics. In a nationwide campaign rallying for public support, the Umno-led Barisan Nasional received support from PAS and DAP for the constitutional amendment made in 1993. Semangat 46, led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was the only party that opposed the amendment. These below statements from Umno leaders are seditious, stated Abdul Aziz in a footnote concerning the above stated article.
Quotable quotes from Umno leaders:
"The leaders have warned the rulers many times about ethics and told them that they could not continue doing certain things. It is not necessary to talk further.
We have talked with the rulers many times before and it is now time for action." – Nazri Aziz, Umno Youth deputy and senator in New Straits Times, Dec 29, 1992.
"If rulers interfere in politics and it is proven, we want the Parliament to declare the election is illegal and cancelled.
In business, if rulers’ involvement is proven, we should assume the business is illegal." – Nazri Aziz, Umno executive council member in Utusan Malaysia, Dec 3, 1990.
"I would like to ask, how insulted do you feel when the Sultan of Kelantan does not invite our menteri besar to give a speech on behalf of the people each time His Majesty celebrates his coronation day whereas the people had chosen the menteri besar through their rights." - Nazri Aziz, Umno Youth Exco in Utusan Malaysia, Nov, 30, 1990.
"A ruler will enjoy the respect of his people even without the immunity but with the conduct that is appropriate with his office.
Though the issue is a bitter pill to swallow, our rulers must accept the fact that immunity is not God given." – Muhyiddin Yassin, Johor Menteri Besar, New Straits Times, Dec 27, 1992.
"A great idea or change cannot be stopped even by a battalion when its time has come. If he loves the throne he will make sacrifices to make the subjects happy." – Sanusi Junid, Agriculture Minister, New Straits Times, Dec 23, 1992.
"As the country’s highest legislative body, any subject is allowed to be discussed and concluded in the Dewan Rakyat, including matters pertaining to the rulers." - Zahir Ismail, Dewan Rakyat speaker in New Straits Times, Dec 15, 1992.
"If this race was not sovereign, don’t expect the sovereignty of rulers." – Saharudin Hashim, Negri Sembilan Umno delegate, Mingguan Malaysia, Dec 2, 1990.
"We don’t want the palace to impose various conditions before appointing the menteri besars" – Mohd Satim, Selangor Umno delegate, Utusan Malaysia, Dec 3, 1990.
Quotes from opposition leaders:
"The rulers cannot effectively judge their own brethren as justice cannot be demonstratedly seen to be done if that recourse were to be resorted to." – Karpal Singh, DAP deputy chairman in New Straits Times, Dec 30, 1992.
"Furthermore we know that the Quran and the Sunnah do not confer immunity to anyone. Everyone is equal in the eyes of Allah." Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Kelantan menteri besar, New Straits Times, Dec 16, 1992.
"We condemn the government’s present action of deliberately playing up the weaknesses of the individual rulers with the aim of tarnishing the image of the institution.
"We also request the Malay Rulers to be sensitive to the feelings of Malays before making any decision regarding any matter which affect the institution of Malay rulers and the future interest of Malays and Muslims in this country." – Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Semangat 46 president, New Straits Times, Dec 23, 1992.
Quotes from top government official:
"I am sure the amendment will be carried through in accordance with the prescribed proceedings. "All relevant matters would be given due consideration including requirement of the constitution. "The government will also study the issue carefully before deciding whether the consent of the Rulers Council need to be obtained earlier or after the amendments are passed by the Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat." – Abu Talib Othman, attorney- general in New Straits Times, Dec 19, 1992.