Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told a press conference on Friday that Malaysians were misled by a group of unnamed individuals (hereinafter referred to as “the group”) regarding the much disputed Statute of Rome. According to him, the group wrongly accused the Government of Malaysia (GoM) of surrendering all its powers to foreigners by signing the decree in a hush-hush manner. But not only did the group do no such thing, the only one who did the misleading was none other than Mahathir himself, who, in typical vintage fashion, spoke about the ‘one million signatures’ he purportedly presented the ‘raja-raja’ with.
Yes, nothing that ever comes out to the old man’s mouth can every be taken as gospel. To better appreciate why that is, I took the liberty of compiling 40 reasons why Malaysians should brush him off as a weak and desperate wreck who’s trying very hard to conceal his disgust for the Monarchical Institution. Do feel free to derive your own conclusions once you’re done reading this article and leave your questions in the comment section below. Rest assured, I will get back to each and every one of you with answers and may even dedicate a full article to your questions.
40 reasons why Mahathir misled Malaysians on the Statute of Rome
1. Mahathir claimed that he submitted a million signatures to the ‘raja-raja’.
2. Though he didn’t exactly say it, he was referring to the Citizen’s Declaration (hereinafter referred to as “the declaration”) he and an array of Pakatan leaders, then members of the opposition, issued on the 4thof March 2016 to demand that Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak resign as Prime Minister.
3. The ‘raja-raja’ he was referring to can more accurately be described as the Conference of Rulers (CoR), a council comprising all nine rulers of the Malay states and the governors (or Yang di-Pertua Negeris) of the four remaining states.
4. For the record, the CoR was never once presented with any petition bearing any number of signatures at any point in time, be it by Mahathir, Lim Kit Siang, Mohamad Sabu, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail or any other leader of the present Pakatan Harapan coalition.
5. But the declaration Mahathir was referring to wasn’t a work of fiction.
6. On contraire, not only did it exist, its stated aim was to amass a million signatures by or before December 2016 to be presented to the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
7. However, it was declared a success six months ahead of schedule by Mahathir himself, who, via a press conference, announced that the pledge was supported by over 1.2 million signatories.
8. Mahathir then went around town publically demanding that he be given an audience with the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the late Al-Sultan Al-Mu’tassimu Billahi Muhibbuddin Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah
9. He dramatised the whole “I want to meet the Agong” affair by accusing the Najib administration of placing the ruler under ‘house arrest’ for no apparent rhyme or reason.
10. When His Royal Highness finally agreed to grant an audience, Mahathir could not even produce a shred of evidence suggesting that the declaration had amassed any number of signatures.
11. But that’s only because a bulk of the signatures he claimed to have amassed were ripped off the database of a computer programmer for a fee in typical “Xavier Justo” fashion.
12. The fact that the names belonged to individuals who had no knowledge whatsoever of their names being sold, let alone used, indicates that a crime of sorts was committed by Mahathir and (or) his men.
13. The fact that he attempted to mislead the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a man held in esteem by the Malay-Muslims, goes a long way to show his lack of regard for both the Agong and the country’s supreme law.
14. It is with this disregard that he quietly led the GoM into signing the Statute of Rome without consulting the CoR as required by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
15. Article 38 (4) of the supreme law clearly dictates, in no uncertain terms, that no law directly affecting the privileges, position, honours and (or) dignities of the Rulers shall be passed without the consent of the CoR.
16. As a matter of fact, there are several other stipulations within the Federal Constitution of Malaysia that clearly grant the CoR the right to partake in discussions with the GoM whenever appropriate regarding matters of policy.
17. It follows, the GoM was and still is duty bound to discuss with the CoR any action that has the potential of undermining the sovereignty of the nation, the eminence of the Rulers and their positions as Heads of States.
18. The Statute of Rome just so happens to be an international decree that makes no distinction whatsoever between systems of governance that are Monarchical and non-Monarchical based.
19. The Statute also pays no attention to the religious and cultural peculiarities endemic to a given nation.
20. Malaysia is Muslim majority country dominated by the Malay-Muslims, who, for centuries, have regarded Rulers with with high esteem, much like members of the traditional Malay community would the head of the household.
21. In popular Malay culture, to undermine the authority and (or) eminence of the Malay Ruler is tantamount to committing an act of perfidy (derhaka) the same way it is despicable for a son or daughter to undermine the authority of his (or her) father.
22. Given that the Malays are defined by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia as being Muslims by default, the Malay Ruler, being the Head of State, is also revered as the Head of Islam and is recognised as such by the Supreme Law.
23. Thus, any attempt seen to be in contempt of the Monarchical Institution or one that undermines the Ruler in any way is widely perceived by the Malay-Muslim community as an attempt to undermine the Head of Islam, and, by extension, the religion of Islam itself.
24. It follows, that the institution of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is constitutionally and culturally braided through the history of Tanah Melayu and is built on religious foundations the Malay-Muslim community holds dearest.
25. For Mahathir to ignore this and say that the GoM need not inform the people everything it does is highly irresponsible.
26. He of all people should know, that the sanctity of the Monarchical Institution is among the most sensitive and sacred of issues to the Malay-Muslim community, which, if not dealt with properly, could threaten to spark untold mayhem.
27. Mahathir effectively misled the press conference into thinking that the group objected to the signing of the decree as it would strip the Agong of immunity and deter His Royal Highness from doing wrong.
28. Truth is, it was the Prime Minister himself who did the Rulers wrong by undermining the CoR’s constitutional role in matters of governance pursuant to Article 38 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
29. Mahathir was a hypocrite not to have told the press conference that the issue of sovereignty, the eminency of the Malay Rulers and the need to abide by tenets of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia took precedence over the perceived motives of those who sought to prevent the GoM from signing the statute.
30. It was also hypocritical for Mahathir to deny people the right to know everything the GoM did.
31. Lest we forget, it was he who joined forces with Lim Kit Siang prior to the 14thgeneral election to demand that the Najib administration tell people everything as “it is wrong to withhold information from them.”
32. All said, the fundamental responsibility – not prerogative – of the GoM as enshrined in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, read as a whole, is to ensure that the wellbeing of the rakyat is protected at all times and in every respect, be it economically, socially or even politically.
33. A big part of that responsibility includes the need to ensure that the sensitivities and sensibilities of the rakyat is well understood so that the government of the day can communicate its policies in ways that is well received and appreciated by the people.
34. That itself makes it constitutionally wrong for the GoM not to have explained to the rakyat how and why the Statute of Rome needed signing before any attempt was made to sign it.
35. Ask any constitutional expert, and he (or she) can tell you precisely how and why the treaty implicates directly on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
36. By signing it, the GoM would be compelled to legislate new laws that would irrevocably redefine the privileges, positions, honours and (or) dignities of the Rulers as provided for by Article 38(4) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
37. Given the expression of aghast and dismay with which Mahathir conducted the press conference, there is no denying that the decision to sign the Statute of Rome wasn’t Tommy Thomas’ alone, as claimed by various quarters, but that of a sly old fox who may have been under the influence of the DAP.
38. If Mahathir could take the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a fool back in 2016 and still maintain his innocence during the press conference, there is no reason for anyone not to believe that he took the Rulers and the rakyat for fools by having them believe that it was the prerogative of the GoM to sign the Statute of Rome without the need to consult the CoR.
39. The various constitutional amendments he effected throughout the eighties and the nineties prove beyond any measure of doubt that his intent has always been to strip the Rulers of powers every chance he gets.
40. If anything, his innermost desire has always been to turn Malaysia into a Monarchical Republic, something he hopes to accomplish by or before the 15th general election – anticipated to be held anytime before 2021 – to ensure that the Rulers have absolutely no say in the make up of the next federal government.