Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah has more royal stories to tell after the recent stunning “deactivation” of her Twitter account, which had led to speculations that she was offended by cyber-bullying. It had led police to arrest Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) Youth chief Khalid Ismath, only for the Queen to express her disappointment.
She told the Palace to inform the police to back off, forcing the police to make a U-turn and freed Khalid on Saturday (Sept 14), just a day after his arrest. In comparison, when Bilqis Hijjas dropped some yellow balloons with words “Free Media”, “Democracy” and “Justice” at a 2015 event attended by former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, the dance producer was charged.
Yes, Najib and Rosmah were upset, hence dance producer Bilqis Hijjas was accused of “insulting behaviour” with the purpose of provoking anger that may cause a breach of peace for dropping yellow balloons and was charged under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955. Queen Azizah, however, was upset that the police arrested someone who thought to have had insulted the monarch.
Like it or not, it was the queen’s so-called “childish behaviour” of taking photos with her smartphone and happily waving flags at the recent Merdeka (independence) parade that have won the hearts of Malaysians – perceived to be the royal couple’s humble way of life. It creates an impression that the royal house is approachable, at ease with people and not pretentious.
Mr. Najib, on the other hand, was arrogant, unapproachable, fake, out of reach, pretentious and of course, incredibly corrupt – until he lost power in the May general election last year. Only after he had lost his throne that his PR team was paid to design a new image for him – a humble approachable man rides a cheap bike, never mind he still needs help putting on his own helmet.
During her latest interview with The Star published on Thursday (Sept 19), Tunku Azizah revealed how she and her siblings were raised strictly but treated like regular folk. Recalling her father (the late Sultan Iskandar Ismail of Johor), the queen, who is also the sister of current Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, said – “My father was strict with us. We had a normal upbringing.“
The Queen and her husband, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang who was officially installed as the 16th King (Agong) two months ago for a 5-year term, has also won praise for stopping his motorcade to help a motorist involved in a road accident as well as queuing to buy KFC meal. However, some are sceptical and believe it was part of melodrama to paint a good picture of the monarch.
Can you blame them? After all, the mere mention of the Sultanate of Pahang and Johor, two of nine monarchies in the country, would spark interesting past stories, scandals and whatnot. This may sound unfair to the Queen, but the fact remains that the late Sultan Iskandar of Johor was notorious for his bad temper which often resulted in violent episodes of rage and brutality to the general public.
The 1993 Constitutional Crisis was sparked when an angry Sultan Iskandar summoned hockey coach Douglas Gomez to the palace (30 November 1992) and was beaten by the sultan himself, not to mention the murder of a golf caddie in 1987 while serving as Agong (King). The same crisis would see the rulers and members of the royal families being stripped of their legal immunity.
The current Sultanate of Johor was once considered as the people’s saviour when the royal house openly condemned, mocked and insulted former PM Najib Razak for his involvement in 1MDB scandal. Yes, the Royal Family of Johor was the people’s champion, at least temporarily in 2015, when they openly slammed the corrupt Najib regime, something which ordinary folk afraid to do.
The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, had laughed at the cowardly man – Najib Razak – for not attending a dialogue called “Nothing to Hide”. He said – “How can you have a dialogue called ‘Nothing2Hide’ featuring a person who has everything to hide? Obviously he won’t show up.” He also ridiculed Najib like “a drowning man who will try to reach and hold on to anything – including ‘faeces’”.
The monarch suddenly made a spectacular U-turn on April 7, 2018, about a month before the May 9, 2018 General Election. The crown prince unexpectedly, much to the horror of the people, urged the people of Johor not to rock the boat, suggesting that the people should continue to vote for the scandal-plagued Najib Razak, the same person he had mocked and insulted earlier.
The Crown Prince of Johor posted his lengthy lecture on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page on April 7, 2018 – “Don’t change the boat if the engine is not broken, don’t even change the skipper but allow HM The Sultan of Johor and me to guide the skipper for you. Change what needs to be changed and upgrade what needs upgrading for the sake of our beloved country.”
It certainly didn’t help the King and Queen that the late Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang (father of the king) was particularly close to Najib Razak. Apparently, Mr. Najib holds the “Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar” title, which he inherited from his late father. The title, which dates back about three centuries in 1722, was accorded to him by the Pahang palace by virtue of the title being hereditary.
The title is a nobility title in Pahang Sultanate and one of the four highest ranking nobles below the monarch – hence also known as the “Orang Besar Berempat”, loosely translates as “the four chiefs”. Historically, the “Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar” was one of the four major chiefs who wielded very wide powers in Pahang during the ancient times of the Old Pahang Sultanate.
At the peak of 1MDB scandal in 2015, the then-Sultan Ahmad Shah dropped a surprise bombshell – urging the people to support Najib Razak. Using the monarch to hoodwink the people, Najib then happily announced that he had secured the backing of the Sultan of Pahang to remain as prime minister, as he sought to drum up support to offset Mahathir’s demand that he resign.
But is it fair to blame the King (Sultan Abdullah of Pahang) and the Queen (Tengku Ampuan or consort of Pahang) for something which their father or brother or nephew had done? Obviously not! However, the perception that birds of a feather flock together has gotten ordinary Joe and Jane suspicious about how genuine is the humbleness of the newly crowned Sultanate of Pahang.
It’s certainly nice to hear that effective August, the royal house has enforced tougher rules and criteria regarding the conferment of Pahang state awards and medals. The reforms also involve investigation into recipients linked to acts of misconduct. It was certainly a joke that like a factory, a whopping 978 of Pahang state award and medals was given away (or rather sold) in 2014 alone.
Besides being humble and approachable, perhaps the Sultanate of Pahang could improve the reputation and integrity of the monarch by showing their displeasure and disgust over corruptions, dishonesty and lack of integrity – strips Najib and Rosmah of their titles and awards. There have been too many cases of crooks awarded the bling-bling by the state of Pahang.
On October 2018, the Negri Sembilan palace revoked Najib Razak’s Darjah Seri Utama Negeri Sembilan, which comes with the title “Datuk Seri”, conferred on him in 2005, while Rosmah Mansor lost her Darjah Seri Paduka Tuanku Jaafar Yang Amat Terpuji, bestowed in 2006. The palace said – “The decision is aimed at safeguarding the honour of the Negeri Sembilan royal institution.”
In May this year, Najib and his wife Rosmah were stripped of state titles awarded by the Sultan of Selangor pending the completion of their corruption cases in court. Effectively, the former premier lost the “Datuk Seri” and “Datuk” titles while his wife lost “Datin Paduka Seri” title. The palace said the suspension was due to the graft, criminal breach of trust and money laundering charges against them.
Najib was conferred in 2004 the Keahlian Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) First Class, which carries the title “Datuk Seri”. In 1992, he received the Darjah Kebesaran Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) Second Class, which comes with the title “Datuk”. Rosmah received the Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) First Class, which carries the title “Datin Paduka Seri” in 2005.
Still, both disgraced Najib and Rosmah can still be called “Datuk Seri” and “Datin Seri” respectively as they still hold awards from Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak. It’s definitely a big deal if the Palace of Pahang strips both despicable individuals of all titles and awards to safeguard the honour and dignity of the royal house.
That’s because Najib is considered as one of four members of the Pahang royal household by virtue of his inherited title of “Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar”. At the very least, the titles and awards of both individuals should be suspended. It would send a strong message that not even a member of the Pahang Royal House can pervert the law, further boosting the reputation of the King and Queen.
Source : Finance Twitter