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Not just an additional public holiday

  • Among the 43 constitutional monarchies in the world, Malaysia's system is perhaps the most unique, and superior. Photo courtesy: Bernama

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Among the 43 constitutional monarchies in the world, Malaysia's system is perhaps the most unique.

I personally feel that our constitutional monarchy system is even more superior than that of other countries.

1. We enjoy some perks, such as additional public holidays.

In addition to the annual King's Birthday, we also have a special holiday for the King's installation.

The installation of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Tuesday was gazetted as a public holiday. Many people also applied for another day off on Monday so that they could have a long weekend of four straight days off, a major boon for holiday-crazy Malaysians!

And that was less than two and a half years from the installation of the previous King Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan on April 24, 2017.

Imagine, the last time the Britons enjoyed an installation holiday was during the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, or 66 years ago! In other words, most living Britons have not witnessed an installation ceremony in their lifetimes and have little idea whether they have a chance to witness the installation of the now 70-year-old Prince Charles.

2. Rotating basis with new faces every a few years.

Malaysia has seen the installation of 16 Yang di-Pertuan Agongs since the country's independence in 1957. By comparison, the Britons only have one: the same Queen Elizabeth II.

To be honest, such an hereditary system has bored not only the subjects but also the monarchs themselves.

For example, Emperor Akihito of Japan decided to abdicate as the responsibility falling on his shoulders as emperor had been too heavy for him.

Prior to that, Spanish King Juan Carlos and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands had been heads of state for so many decades that they too sought to renounce their reigns.

3. Rotating basis so that excessvie concentration of power could be avoided.

The monarch does not have the actual power to rule under constitutional monarchy, but in reality the heads of state in many countries, especially here in Malaysia, still hold a lot of power.

Things like dissolution of the parliament, the installation of a new government, the appointment of the prime minister, and even constitutional amendments and legislation of laws all necessitate the consent of His Majesty.

Moreover, the King is also the supreme head of the Islamic faith and Malay customs as well as the nominal commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

On top of that, the consent of His Majesty is also required to declare the state of emergency for the country.

Think about it, if such enormous power is entrusted to one single person for too long, problems may occur.

Under the existing system, the King is appointed on a rotating basis to serve a maximum tenure of not more than five years. Decentralizing and disrupting the continuity of protracted power will effectively dispel such concerns.

4. Vibrancy with new faces every few years.

New Kings coming to power every five years will breathe a new lease of life into the country as no one will hold on to the power for decades until he is too old or frail to rule.

For example, the current King Al-Sultan Abdullah appears to be more approachable than his predecessors by opening up the Palace to the media so that the rakyat can catch a close glimpse into the life of the royalty.

The King and Queen have accepted media interviews to talk about their growing years, their day-do-day life, their experiences as well as their philosophies of ruling the country.

The King has expressed his aspiration to unite the people who live together peacefully and harmoniously despite their differences. He also says he does not want to see accentuated political conflicts and confrontation.

Meanwhile, the Queen has taken he initiative to talk about her Chinese lineage with the hope the revelation will help dismantle any barrier that stands in the way of Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds.

A King who dutifully plays his non-partisan role of not interfering in politics, harnesses but not abuses the country's resources is one who deserves the utmost respect of all Malaysians.

 

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