PETALING JAYA, 16 Feb 2009: The legal amendments that made it possible to prosecute the Malay Rulers originated from an Umno-led government in 1993, Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has pointed out.
Razaleigh (Public domain; source: Wikipedia) Commenting on Karpal Singh’s call to bring the Perak Sultan to court and the charges that have been levelled against the DAP chairperson, Razaleigh said Karpal was acting within his rights because of past constitutional amendments spearheaded by Umno.
“Mr Karpal Singh, though I disagree with him, was acting well within rights that an Umno-led government enacted in 1993,” Razaleigh wrote on his blog today.
“Was greater harm done to the sovereignty of the Rulers in 1993 through Parliament or a week ago on the streets of Perak?” asked Razaleigh, referring to the protests against Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision to appoint a Barisan Nasional state government instead of dissolving the state assembly.
Razaleigh pointed out that the Rulers’ legal immunity was removed following reports of the then Johor Sultan’s physical assault of a hockey coach in 1992.
“I opposed these amendments,” Razaleigh said, but added that the amendments were passed because “Rulers and Parliament were railroaded by the government of the day.”
Further amendments to the constitution by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration in 1994 allowed any bill passed by both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara to become law within 30 days, regardless of the Agong’s consent.
“Is today’s Umno, with its inconsistent adherence to the rule of law, its inconstant respect for the key institutions of our country, a credible or effective defender of the Rulers and of the laws upholding this institution?
“Or do we actually harm what we claim to protect?” he wrote.