Don’t worry, we’re not talking about the S’gor MB crisis anymore. This time, we’re shifting our focus to learn more about the HRH Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin. Why? Amidst the craziness, he gave a short, bold speech in a ceremony to swear in the new executive state councillors which changed our perceptions about the ruler of Selangor.
Let’s be real – as a commonfolk, we see him as royalty from birth, someone who might not know the feelings and problems of his people, someone who’s probably detached from what we consider as ‘real life’. So when he showed his displeasure towards PKR and DAP and overlooked Wan Azizah (who was the ruling party’s choice) in appointing the new S’gor MB, it raised a whole lot of questions and doubts about his judgements.
Some cried that democracy was dead in Selangor, some said that the monarch was stripped of power by Mahathir and does not have the authority to overrule the party’s decision. Some responded that these people were ignorant and needed to get schooled.
So when he gave his speech, we sat in for a short, royal lesson:
(For the full transcript in Bahasa Melayu, click here.)
1. He felt that we were misinformed, and he’s here to clear the air.
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that we never really knew anything for sure. From office discussions to comments on Facebook, here’s a gist of some of the questions that were bouncing off back and forth before his speech:
“The Sultan can appoint one meh? The state is run by Pakatan what, so if Wan Azizah got all the support then how can he say no?”
“If Mahathir is said to have stripped the monarch of their powers during his time as PM, then the Sultan is technically just there to officiate stuff.”
“Everyone chose Wan Azizah already, so how can one man just overrule this without considering what the party wants? Ya he’s the Sultan, but who said he knows what the people wants?” (Disclaimer: person who said this was then told that Wan Azizah may be the choice for PKR but it doesn’t mean she’s the choice of the rakyat.)
But in his speech, he felt that we were misinformed, adding that it was out of “ignorance” or “through sinister, political agendas”:
“Because the people were not given the understanding about the function of the Sultan, the people assume that the royal institution is only a symbol with no roles and powers allocated under the state’s law (Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Selangor). I also realise that there are politicians who do not understand the roles and powers of the royal institution, or they choose not to understand it because I am confident that they have a different agenda.”
Which leads us to…
2. He wants us to remember that he is more than ‘just a symbol’.
“I want to remind that the Sultan is not just a symbol in customs and official events, but the power of the Sultan is to see the state and the people of Selangor live in peace and prosperity.”
Truthfully speaking, the most exposure he gets to the general (emphasising the word ‘general’ here) public is having his royal photograph on billboards and the press. With him having minimal involvement in politics, there’s no wondering why laymen see the Sultan as a customary symbol and nothing but it. This may very well sound superficial, but hey, if you’re an average Joe who focuses on your own life and times, we know you’ll find this relatable.
3. He’s not a blind ruler.
Coming from a line of royalties and reigning as the Sultan of Selangor since 2001, HRH as his advisors have seen enough politicking to grant them the wisdom to judge and rule. So when parties assume that giving the Sultan only one name for the new MB position would ‘force’ him to choose, they were evidently unhappy when he royally showed them the door. From his speech, the HRH is a lot more insightful and he’s not afraid to tell that to his people:
“The crisis involving the Selangor MB has opened my eyes and heart as well as my view towards the state’s politics. Politicians come and go, they serve for five years and may be replaced in the next election, but my position as the Sultan who rules Selangor will continue until the end of my days.”
He stated his displeasure towards how PKR ousted Khalid Ibrahim out of his position, of which he said had executed the duties of an MB ‘successfully and perfectly’.
“PKR continued with their agenda even during the holy month of Ramadan, hurling insults and criticisms until they succeeded in removing Khalid as Menteri Besar. At a time when Muslims should be focusing on their worship and do charitable deeds to cleanse their sins. I have reminded, on several occasions, against this. But, PKR continues with its agenda during the fasting month until they succeeded in doing so.”
4. He loves the people of Selangor.
Perhaps the most important part of it all, is to be reassured that there were more important things at stake – the lives of the Selangorians and the state of the state.
“I want to remind that the Sultan is not just a symbol in customs and official events, but the power of the Sultan is to see the state and the people of Selangor live in peace and prosperity. […] As the ruler, it is my heavy duty to ensure that my beloved Selangorians could enjoy a quality life in a progressive, perfect state. […] I am always thinking for the people’s peace, prosperity and harmony.”
While HRH doesn’t interfere in the administration by the MB, but only advises on things that may affect the people, he called upon the newly-appointed excos to put their differences aside and to give their full support to Azmin for the benefit of the people.
A point that truly humanised him, HRH added that he loved his people and is always thinking for their peace, prosperity and harmony. He said that Selangorians, who come in many races and religion with all sorts of customs, want to be able to practice their religion freely, adding that he didn’t want to see his people live in fear, misery and a chaotic environment.
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Arguable as it may be, we’re a bunch of optimists. HRH’s speech closed the chapter by shedding light on assumptions and doubts, and as Selangorians in a post-crisis state, it was just what we needed.