KUALA KANGSAR, 3 Feb 2009: The Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah said the monarchy could be reduced to a museum piece if it was not wisely and fairly governed.
“History has shown that the downfall of a monarchy was not because the system was not good, but rather because of misdeeds.
“Internal bickering and the ruler being wrongly advised by noble persons and court officials, who had vested interest to amass wealth or power, were among the causal factors,” said the Sultan at the pledge of loyalty and investiture ceremony at Istana Iskandariah here today, to commemorate the silver jubilee of his reign.
Sultan Azlan said in the past, the throne was an institution that was “one for all and all for one”, and the king fulfilled the role of one who promulgated laws according to his discretion, a role equivalent to a parliament.
“The throne also had executive power and the king as the arbiter. Sometimes, the king delegated his power to the prime minister, sometimes he himself assumed the duty of the government, culminating in the concept of a working king,” he said.
Sultan Azlan said the throne was also the judiciary where matters which needed judgment were tried in the palace before the ruler, who had the final say.
“The three heavy responsibilities would not be executed wisely, fairly, evenly and effectively if they rested solely on the ruler’s shoulders.
“So, the evolution process of a government took place. In our country, the formula for a government and nation was achieved through the sharing of power between the palace and the people through the constitutional monarchy system and parliamentary democracy,” said the Sultan.
He said the government chosen by the people was bolstered by three pillars, namely the legislative, executive and judiciary to check and complement each other to ensure that there would be no abuse of power while the interests of the people were protected.
“The throne remains a symbol of peace, the pillar of fairness, the place to seek mercy and pardon,” Sultan Azlan said, adding that constitutional monarchy was a good system to ensure the people’s respect for the government.
“In Islam, the ruler is recognised to be equivalent to a caliph. Here, the Federal Constitution recognises the King as the head of Islam,” he said.
Sultan Azlan Shah said during Friday prayers, millions of Muslims hear the sermon delivered by the “khatib” (preacher) and said amen to the “doa” (prayer) asking for the rulers to be blessed with divine guidance to continue leading the country.
“As such, let me remind all that the ‘doa’ will continue to be read and blessed as long as the throne is highly regarded, and deemed to be fair and equitable.
“And as long as the throne is not cruel and does not oppress the people,” the Sultan said. — Bernama