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4:42pm 24/11/2022
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Thank you, Tuanku
By:Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

As my wife screamed from five rooms away in our Kajang house, I was staring at the computer trying to prepare my December 4 keynote lecture at an international conference organized by UCSI on the Future of Vernacular Architecture.

As both of us are already in our 60-year-old club, I was concerned she might be sick, but she stood up and hugged me and said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had announced Anwar Ibrahim as the Prime Minister.

I sat down with a sigh and listened quietly as my wife called all the five children of the long-awaited news.

Funnily enough, my thoughts were not of the 24-year wait but of the five-day ordeal when the YDP Agong took charge professionally and with dignity.

It is not in my academic and spiritual nature to comment anything on Malaysia’s royalty. As an academic, as a Malaysian and as a former Islamic reformist imbued with the ideals of the Prophet Muhammad and the teachings of other great sages, my life has no space for commenting on the statements and efforts of royalty.

They live a different life from us Malaysians. They have a different set of laws from us, and saying something negative even if it were meaningful and constructive may land one in prison.

So, commenting on royalty is a no-no as well as “so what.”

I have heard Umno leaders shouting at the top of their voices to protect the Malay royalty at all cost, but I never gave two minutes at their sloganeering and bodekism.

When royalty speaks at conferences or seminars, I would just listen with half an ear as I won’t be able to comment on anything other than just heap useless praises and agreement. Not for me, thank you.

But the present Yang di-Pertuan Agong caught my attention when he began his reign.

The YDP Agong and his Permaisuri seemed at ease and down to earth with him frequenting warungs, floods and providing KFC for people.

Some of my friends said that all of this is PR but I prefer always to make up my own mind than listen to people stereotyping events and issues.

I was most impressed with the YDP Agong firstly on his reminding of Muhyiddin to present his majority in Parliament.

Muhyiddin ignored until the Budget vote. Muhyiddin achieved that by a sorry excuse of a Speaker that was hastily appointed over a most respected person Tan Sri Ariff.

The YDP Agong should not have needed to do all these if we had elected people who would put the country first, second and last. Malu betul!

The next thing that impressed me was the first request by Muhyiddin to declare an Emergency, not because of increasing Covid numbers but because his parliamentary support numbers were dwindling.

Tuanku said no. And I heaved a sigh of relief as taking away our liberty and freedom is violating the very sanctity and cornerstone of our dignity as Malaysians.

However, when Tuanku actually agreed to the Emergency after being fed suspect data from weak minded civil servants to support the PM, he told point blank to the PM to table the Emergency declaration and law.

Again, Muhyiddin ignored it until several months later when his cabinet declared that the Emergency was null and void! Itu macam saja!

What impressed me the most is how the YDP Agong had handled the formation of the unity government.

In a radio interview, the subject of royal interference in democracy was raised but I said that in the adat Melayu and Islam, a person acting as an arbiter or a “father” figure is expected and valued.

This seems to be the strength of Malay and Islamic traditions beyond the riots and killings that political stalemate historically produced.

I was deeply impressed when the YDP Agong rejected Muhyiddin’s 115 SDs outright, and was most disgusted at his arrogance in flatly disagreeing to even discuss a unity government with Anwar.

Even though I may not be a fan of royalty, but Muhyiddin’s behavior was downright kurang ajar. The YDP Agong should not be treated like that, not because of his office but because he was a Muslim, a Malaysian, a Malay and a father figure to ask nicely for reconciliation.

In Islam, the person who strives to make peace between two parties has a special standing with the Prophet Muhammad.

I think Muhyiddin probably never learned that in his concerns for fake Jewish and Christianization conspiracies to seemingly divide the nation and cast Anwar as the Islamic villain. Teruk betul!

I was also appreciative of how Tuanku summoned the GPS representatives to ask them to take a step back and think about the nation and not their political interests. The Tuanku did the same to Umno when he invited all its representatives.

All this while, I was seething in anger at the childish and arrogant selfishness of Umno, PN and GPS for the YDP Agong to remind them what was at stake.

It seems that all these politicians are concerned only about their small self interests and party interests or even state interests.

All of these 100-plus politicians do not seem to understand what was good for Malaysia instead of what was good for their party, race or individual self.

The YDP Agong should not have needed to do all these if we had elected people who would put the country first, second and last. Malu betul!

Finally, as the dust settles and my wife is already in front of the TV to watch the historic occasion after her Syukur Prayers (Prayer of Gratitude or Thankfulness to God), I need to end this article and perform my Syukur Prayers too.

I just like to say to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as the spiritual heart of Malaysia….Thank you, Tuanku!

(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)

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