Words of Weezdom from a little monarch

The Sultan of Selangor in Malaysia is perhaps thinking his little throne is getting too small and since he is perhaps too old to be gallivanting around the world in a taxpayer funded yacht or crashing through some inter-continental motor race in (probably also taxpayer funded) vintage car (or perhaps the Malaysian government is too broke to fund such royal excesses), Sharafuddin Idris Shah now wants to try being a lawyer.

His statement on the Selangor state religious department raid on a church function (“JAIS-DUMC raid”), probably illustrates or magnifies the state of confusion in Malaysia in matters of admnistration of law.

The Sultan is a constitutional monarch of a state in the Malaysian federation. Since the Sultan did not have much education, someone should whisper to him what that means. I’m pretty sure he isn’t a trained lawyer. In fact I’m pretty sure he didn’t even have any tertiary education. And since he probably never had a real job as well, someone really should make it as simple as possible but make sure he understand not just  what the role of a constitutional monarch is, but also how the legal system works.

I guess the Chinese Bishop of the Catholic church in Malaysia (Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing) has probably come as close to calling the Sultan an untrained and therefore likely misguided person in this matter, as the religious and racial bigotry in Malaysia would allow. Bishop Paul Tan spoke clearly, intelligently and bravely. That is no guarantee he would be heeded. Not so long ago he would have been taken in to be a guest of the government in Kamunting.

I have stopped following the news in Malaysia for a while now, and I guess I am reminded now why that is so.  With people like the Sultan of Selangor issuing statements like that, Malaysian news remains best unread.

Excerpts from Malaysiakini today:

DUMC-Jais: Bishop troubled by sultan’s statement
Terence Netto
6:45PM Oct 10

Catholic Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing described the statement from the Sultan of Selangor on the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) report on alleged proselytisation of Muslims by Christians at the Damansara Utama Methodist Centre last August as “dipped in the ambiguity that would make wanton accusations against Christians no more difficult in the future than it is now.”

bishop paul tan“Begging the Tuanku’s pardon, how is it possible to assert that there were attempts to deviate the faith of Muslim attendees at the dinner function at the DUMC but there is, then, not sufficient evidence to prefer charges,” queried the titular head of Catholics in the Malacca-Johor diocese, in an immediate response to a statement on the matter issued today by the sultan.

“If there is not enough evidence, there ought to be no imputation of wrongdoing – it’s as simple as that!” exclaimed Tan (left), who is concurrently president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia.

“As it stands now, the sultan’s statement paints the Christian organisers of the dinner function as having been given a discharge not amounting to acquittal from accusations that they proselytised to Muslims,” he asserted.

“I would have much preferred no statement at all to one that is neither here nor there,” offered the Jesuit-trained prelate.

“Christians have waited patiently for exoneration from false accusations by people whose intent is to grandstand on behalf of their losing causes,” said the bishop.

“It’s a good thing the general election is imminent, because there seems to be no let-up in this ugly campaign of innuendo and insinuation against Christians, so that the ballot box becomes our only recourse from persecution by vile slander,” he concluded.