YDPA Should Not Interfere In National Affairs
On 25th of October 2020, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah decided not to accept Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s proposal to implement a state of emergency after discussions made with the Malay rulers. The King subsequently called MPs to support the upcoming Budget 2021.
The Parliament have also indicated that they will comply with the advice to ensure the passing of the upcoming budget. In other words, the King and the representatives selected by the people has begun to endorse the budget even if it has yet to be tabled. This will be the first budget that is passed in Malaysia since the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, and it is a budget that will affect all Malaysians.
Looking back at history, Malaysia has been pursuing parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy since its establishment. Under this system, even if Malaysia maintains a monarchy system, the King only has the symbolic status conferred by the Federal Constitution (hereinafter referred to as the “Constitution”). According to Article 40, paragraph 1A of the Constitution, the Supreme Head of the Federation (YDPA) must act in accordance with the advices made by the Cabinet.
Whether appointing Chief Justice, diplomatic ambassadors, or even passing various laws in the Parliament, the King has no authority. Rather, the Prime Minister is the real envoy behind the said scenes. In addition to that, Article 40 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution states that without the advice of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the King can only exercise his powers in three matters: the appointment of a candidate who is supported by a majority of the Parliament as the Prime Minister, refusing the request to dissolve the parliament and to convene a meeting among the Malay Rulers.
These points have proved the supremacy of the Constitution. Even the King cannot oppress or bypass the constitution to expand His Majesty’s political rights. Any act beyond the provisions of the Constitution is unconstitutional.
Amid political crises, the political rights and influence of the King seems and possibly are gradually expanding. Even though these crises can be alleviated for a short time, but it has opened the Pandora’s Box. If the King, who is loved by the people, issues any order, the Parliament has no ability to resist it. The 222 members of the Parliament voted by 15 million voters in this country will not be able to resist the personal will of the King.
In the elections held every five years, we can freely vote for the representatives we like, and we can also oust the representatives we hate. However, the people cannot elect any representatives from the Royal families that follows the hereditary system. In fact, members of the Royal family do not need to be subjected to any form of supervision for check and balance.
UMANY expresses its standpoint, that is, the YDPA should not interfere in national affairs; but to always maintain a neutral attitude and play his role within the framework permitted by the Constitution. We also call upon the people to keep a level head when dealing with the status quo. Democracy is a value that we must uphold and not a value that can be used as collateral for a brief period to calm political struggles.
Campus Democracy, Student Autonomy
University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)