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Nazrin: Monarchs are not blind, deaf or mute

Llew-Ann Phang
Source sun2surf

KUALA LUMPUR (July 22, 2008) : Monarchs are not blind, deaf or mute. Everything that happens are seen, heard and spoken, Perak Regent Raja Nazrin Shah said yesterday.

"The monarch's views on unity, religious role, judiciary independence, corruption and misuse of power are intended to ensure that the country remains stable and peaceful, tranquil and prosperous," he told a packed audience in his Royal Lecture on the Royal Institution at the inaugural Intan Premier Talk at the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan).

To ensure that the throne is always respected, the monarchs are obliged to practice exceptions and separate themselves from being involved in any political party cauldrons, he said.

"The monarchs have to stay away from becoming instruments of any parties in the race for political power," he said to the audience comprising the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, Human Resources Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam and Plantation, Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui.

Nazrin explained that generally the ruling monarch did not have absolute discretion in the appointment of a Prime Minister or Mentris Besar but "he is in a rightful position of ensuring who received the majority support in the Dewan Rakyat or the state legislative assembly.

"The monarch’s discretion is pivotal when there is a hanged situation, when no party holds the majority in the Dewan Rakyat or the state assembly or when a coalition government wants to be established.

"In such a situation, the ruling monarch is obliged to use his discretion to decide on the personality he thinks will receive the support of the members of the assembly," he said.

However, Nazrin warned, failure to use this discretion wisely will result in the people’s perception as the ruling monarch's failure to carry out his most basic responsibility in a fair and justified manner.

"The monarchs are not stiff decorative monuments, lifeless and soulless. Rulers act on the advice of the government that is chosen by the people," he said.

"However, the monarch should never feel pressured nor be made to give his acceptance, if the advice clashes with the spirit of the constitution, is against the sovereignty of the law and goes against the principle of justice for the nation.

"The monarch can never favour an act that does not symbolise justice nor can he approve of an act that does not reflect the truth," Nazrin said, labelling the running of a nation as an art that needed to be mastered.

Foremost of this, he said, is uniting the people and cultivating loyalty to the King and to the country.

"It is not as easy as writing on a paper or speaking a phrase. It is a fine art of management and wise administrative capabilities, implemented through effective, efficient and transparent mechanisms; administrative mechanisms that do not deviate from and is far from the practices of corruption," he said.

Nazrin reminded the audience that a weak administration is the source of people’s anxiety; a wilting administration ruins the nation; and finally weakens the monarch.

"It is the monarch’s responsibility to observe, watch and have the strength to advice those in charge (how) to run the administration, carry out their responsibilities trustworthily, honestly, wholeheartedly and committed towards ensuring the government’s stability, prosperity and guarantee the tranquillity of the people," he said.

"For the Ruler to act learnedly, wisely, fairly and justly, the monarch needs a line up of advisers and court advisers from those who are wise and learned; those who do not have tricks up their sleeves, and those who do not have hidden interests.
"The relationship between the monarch, the court advisers, leaders and the people needs to
"This is to ensure that the Ruler is advised with accurate information, objectively, rationally and based on facts.

be built healthily and fertilised through effective communication channels," he said, adding that this communication is the key to harmonious connections and for dissemination of understanding.

On how to do this, Nazrin said: "The people who are entrusted and have the responsibility to advice the Ruler must be genuine, wise and knowledgeable, tell the truth however bitter it is to swallow so that the Ruler is not rocked into a fantasy, not lulled by praises."

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