Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ku Li slams Umno for ‘ridiculous’ and harmful posturing in the Perak crisis

Malaysia’s well-respected veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has slammed his own Umno party for unruly politicking over the Perak crisis, saying that no one had challenged the rights of the Rulers except Umno itself.

“This is not the first constitutional crisis in which the rights of the Rulers has been touched upon,” Ku Li said in his latest blog posting entitled ‘1993′.

“Today’s crisis in Perak is about the legitimacy of the process by which a new state government has been formed in Perak. It’s not about the status of the Rulers.”

Ridiculous posturing

The former Finance Minister also took to task his party colleagues for selfish irresponsibility in blowing up the issue.

“Does Umno serve the Rulers more genuinely by upholding and protecting the Constitution which guarantees their status, or by histrionic displays tuned for the coming Umno elections?

“This bears upon the question of the kind of leaders, and the kind of party, we want. Do we want to be led by those who can understand and address the foundational issues facing our society today?

“And shall we have leaders capable of forging “mutual consent by debate and discussion, inquiries and elections”, or shall we again be landed with those whose main talent is to strike poses that people outside a small, insecure circle in Umno, and particularly Malaysia’s internet generation, find ridiculous?”

Negative implications

Ku Li also warned of negative implications for society if Umno did not rein itself in and continued to push divisive politics, driving a wedge between the Rulers and the rakyat.

“Was greater harm done to the sovereignty of the Rulers in 1993 through Parliament or a week ago on the streets of Perak?

“And 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?”

Who punished the Rulers in 1993?

A member of the Kelantan royalty, Ku Li had in 1993 opposed amendments pushed through by ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad to strip the immunity of Rulers from prosecution. In his blog http://razaleigh.com/is a video tape of the actual and historical parliamentary debate that took place then.

“In comparison with the Perak crisis, the constitutional crisis of 1993 arose from an ugly confrontation between Umno and the Rulers over a question that had direct and profound implications on their sovereignty and that of the Yang Dipertuan Agong.

“For good reason, the Head of State in most countries may not be prosecuted in an ordinary court of law, but in 1993, the government campaigned to remove this immunity through amendments to the Constitution. In the event, Rulers and Parliament were railroaded by the government of the day and the amendments passed.

“These are the very same amendments which today make it legal for a Ruler to be prosecuted. Mr Karpal Singh, though I disagree with him, was acting well within rights that an Umno-led government enacted in 1993 when he earlier proposed to sue DYMM the Sultan of Perak.” ref

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