“Back in the day when Hang Jebat flew in the face of the palace, the Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mansur Shah, sought the assistance of a palace official who then met Hang Tuah and spoke of Jebat’s treason. A furious Tuah immediately returned to the palace grounds and killed Jebat after seven grueling days of fighting. If we were to equate Mahathir with Jebat, Mohamed Hashim immediately qualifies as the Bendahara who met Tuah on behalf of the Sultan”
THE THIRD FORCE
On the 14th of October 2017, Mahathir declared that the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, was a Bugis pirate who got lost at sea and somehow ended up in Malaysia. Despite a royal rebuke from Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and sharp criticism by Indonesian vice-president Jusuf Kalla, the former premier reiterated his stand during a Pakatan Harapan rally held a week later by insisting that Najib was a Bugis pirate and not a warrior.
Then, just yesterday, he made headlines when he and his wife, Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, returned two awards they each received from the Sultan of Selangor’s late father, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah. Many have referred to the move as “a royal snub,” with some denouncing Mahathir for taking his insolence against the Monarchical institution to new heights. You see, this is not the first time he has flown in the face of our rulers.
So you see, this man has very little regard for our rulers and the Monarchical institution as a whole. Still, there are many theories abound as to what prompted him to return the awards to the Selangor palace. Some claim that the former premier was sending a clear signal to Sultan Sharafuddin that he had no intention of apologizing over the Bugis slur. Others insist that the snub was to signify his disregard for the Monarchical institution ahead of the 14th general election in an effort to convince DAP Chinese that he “was no longer the Islamic fanatic Kit Siang used to say he was.”
But not many are aware of an incident that took place a little over three weeks back. Days after the Bugis slur was uttered, Sultan Sharafuddin decided to pull back the awards from Mahathir and had one of his trusted officials draw up a letter for that purpose. The letter was supposed to be tabled at the Selangor Ruler’s Council (SRC) next meeting following which the revocation of the awards would have been made public.
Now, news of the ruler’s decision was deliberately leaked to Mahathir’s wife by an SRC member, Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim bin Mohd Ali. If you don’t already know, Hashim is a retired General of the Armed Forces and happens also to be Siti Hasmah’s brother. The younger of the two siblings was pissed at Mahathir for dragging Siti – who is now 91 years of age – to rallies and Pakatan Harapan events despite her ailing health and tendency to forget stuff.
And this is true.
There was even an occasion where she couldn’t recognise her own daughter, Marina Mahathir. Hashim knew how bad the situation was and knew that his sister was pressured by everything that was going on. But then, he also knew Mahathir like he did the back of his palm.
He knew that the former premier would return the awards the minute he (Mahathir) discovered plans afoot to strip them. The retired army general was so sure that his brother in-law would resort to a “royal snub” just to ‘deny’ Sultan Sharafuddin the pleasure of embarrassing him in public.
Which is why, Hashim made damned sure that his sister was told of Sultan Sharafuddin’s plans ahead of the upcoming Ruler’s Council meeting. When Siti spoke to her husband about it, the latter did exactly what Hashim had anticipated he would do – he returned the awards and even forced his wife to do the same. But by doing so, Mahathir only prevented Sultan Sharafuddin from looking like the cold-hearted ruler he would have appeared to be had he stripped the awards himself.
Now, Siti is under the impression that her brother was helping prevent her husband from being shamed by the palace. She believes that by relating to her husband what Hashim had told her, she helped save her husband’s face by preventing shame from befalling him. But that is as far from the truth as she could ever imagine.
Unbeknown to her, Hashim was actually trying to protect Sultan Sharafuddin, not her or her husband. What Hashim did was what every traditional Malay would have done in the days of the Malacca Sultanate – to place the needs of the ruler and the sanctity of the Monarchical institution above the needs of one’s household and family.
Back in the day when Hang Jebat flew in the face of the palace, the Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mansur Shah, sought the assistance of a palace official who then met Hang Tuah and spoke of Jebat’s treason. A furious Tuah immediately returned to the palace grounds and killed Jebat after seven grueling days of fighting. If we were to equate Mahathir with Jebat, Mohamed Hashim immediately qualifies as the Bendahara who met Tuah on behalf of the Sultan.
Yes, Siti Hasmah has effectively made her husband look like a total nincompoop for flying in the face of the palace for the umpteenth time. Unlike the real Tuah – who killed Jebat to avenge the Sultan – this ‘evil’ and less patriotic personification – the antithesis of Tuah, if you like – thought that she could ‘kill’ the Sultan’s reputation by getting her Jebat to return the state awards. But what she ended up doing was ‘killing’ her own Jebat without actually knowing she did.
If there is a medal of honour to be given out here, that medal should immediately go to Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim bin Mohd Ali, a true patriot who put the needs of the palace above his and those of his family members.