Archive for the ‘Institution of Monarchy’ Category

Long Live His Majesty

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Sultan Muhammad V’s reign officially begins today with his coronation as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Star Special,
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Unique to the cradle of Malay culture.

Monday, April 24th, 2017

The unique Kelantan sultanate has been in existence since the early 13th century. It has remained strong despite colonisation by several powerful empires in the region over the years.

The sultanate has prevailed because of its strong Malay traditions and Islamic approach.

Kelantan is regarded as the “cradle of Malay culture” and has been ruled by 29 Sultans up to the present day.

The Kelantan sultanate had been led by Sultans and Rajas of the Malay Kingdom of the Jambi Dynasty (between the 13th and 16th centuries), Champa Dynasty (between the 16th and 18th centuries) and Pattani Dynasty (since the 18th century).

The present genealogy of the Kelantan sultanate can be traced back to the descendants of Long Yunus Long Sulaiman, an aristocratic warlord of Pattani origin, who ruled Kelantan circa 1765-1795.

Based on Kelantan’s palace records, the state faced a crisis after the death of Long Yunus. There was a power struggle between Long Muhammad (Long Yunus’ son) and his brother-in-law Tengku Muhamad on who was the rightful heir to the throne.

The records showed that the dispute was a result of the failure of Long Yunus to name a successor. He could not decide who among his seven sons should replace him.

Long Yunus’s son-in-law, Tengku Muhamad, was appointed as acting Sultan for 100 days to fulfil Long Yunus’ wish to be entombed in a royal mausoleum and to enable the state government to function.

However, after the 100 days, Tengku Muhamad refused to hand over the throne to a successor, leading to a conflict between him and Long Muhammad. The feud ended in Long Muhammad’s favour, enabling him to ascend the throne at the start of the 19th century.

In the early annals of recorded history, Kelantan was first ruled by a woman called Cik Siti Wan Kembang, who established a kingdom at Gunung Chinta Wangsa, Ulu Kelantan.

Believed to be unmarried, she was said to have reared two mousedeer as pets. Later, the image of a mousedeer was imprinted on gold coins that were used as legal tender in the state. The same image later became part of the coat of arms of the present Kelantan government.

During the reign of Cik Siti, Raja Sakti ruled another kingdom called Jembal. After the king died, his son Raja Loyor ascended the throne in 1649 and had two children, including Puteri Saadong.

Cik Siti was on good terms with Raja Loyor, especially after she adopted Puteri Saadong as her heir apparent. After that, there were power struggles through the century until Long Yunus’s son Long Muhammad (Sultan Muhammad I) became the first Sultan of Kelantan.

Sultan Muhammad I was accepted by the Siamese as ruler of a separate tributary, 12 years later.

In 1909, a treaty between the Siamese and the English was signed and Siamese rulers gave up their claims over a number of territories, including Perlis, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan. In the end, Kelantan became one of the states in Malaya, with a British adviser who was also its administrator.

During World War II, the Japanese invaded Kelantan on Dec 8, 1941, and fully occupied the state within two weeks. They transferred Kelantan to Thai control in 1943.

The state was freed from Japanese occupation on Sept 8, 1945, and became a state of the Federation of Malaya on Feb 1, 1948. It joined the other states of the peninsula to form the Federation of Malaya on Aug 31, 1957, and became a state of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

Incapacitated by illness, Sultan Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra was replaced by his eldest son and crown prince Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra following a proclamation by the State Succession Council in September 2010.

The new Sultan is officially addressed as Sultan Muhammad V because the name had been used by his ancestors.

On Dec 13 last year, the Kelantan Ruler left Kota Baru for the federal capital to ascend the throne as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Sultan Muhammad V was elected as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by the Conference of Rulers at its 243rd meeting in October. The ceremonial send-off of the Sultan from Istana Negeri, Kubang Kerian, was steeped in tradition.

His mother, Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid, the Regent and Tengku Mahkota of Kelantan, Tengku Dr Muhammad Faiz Petra, and Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob were among the dignitaries who accompanied Sultan Muhammad V to the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Pengkalan Chepa to see him off.

Thousands of people of various races, waving the Kelantan flag and the Jalur Gemilang, lined the 14km route from Istana Negeri to the airport.

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All set for installation of 15th King.

Monday, April 24th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Today, Malaysians will witness the installation of the country’s Supreme Head, the Sultan of Kelantan Sultan Muhammad V, who replaces Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

This is the second time the installation ceremony of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will take place at the Balairong Seri of Istana Negara in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, with preparations in full gear for today’s event.

The ceremony, full of customs and traditions, will mark the official installation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

According to the Penolong Datuk Paduka Maharaja Lela, Ceremonial Division, at the Istana Negara, Azuan Effendy Zairakithnaini, the coronation date coincided with an important day in the Islamic calendar, the Israk and Mikraj (night journey and ascension of Prophet Muhammad), and it was chosen by His Majesty based on the advice from ulama and mufti.

The ceremony, which is only expected to be witnessed once in five years, will begin at 9.30am.

Sultan Muhammad V took his oath of office and signed the declaration on Dec 13 last year, which strengthened and gave legitimacy to the position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as head of state.

His Majesty will be the second Sultan of Kelantan to reign as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The first was His Majesty’s grandfather Sultan Yahya Petra Sultan Ibrahim, who was the sixth Yang di-Pertuan Agong and reigned from 1975 to 1979.

Sultan Muhammad V was born Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra on Oct 6, 1969 in Kota Baru, to Sultan Ismail Petra and Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid.

His Majesty used the name Sultan Muhammad V after he was installed as the 29th Sultan of Kelantan in 2010.

According to Azuan Effendy, the installation ceremony will maintain the core elements of the traditions that have been in practice since the coronation of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman of Negri Sembilan.

Today’s event will start with the arrival of Sultan Muhammad V at the royal dais to take the Royal Salute from the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment.

Among the key elements of the ceremony will be when His Majesty enters the Throne Room, accompanied with the musical tunes of Raja Berangkat played by the Pasukan Gendang Besar Diraja Kelantan, commanders who will carry the Cogan Alam (Sceptre of the Universe) and the Cogan Agama (Sceptre of Religion), and bearers of the royal regalia – important elements that reflect the glorious position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the head of state.

The Datuk Paduka Maharaja Lela will present a copy of the Quran to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in a symbolic gesture depicting His Majesty’s role as head of the Islamic religion of the Federation and the states that do not have a Ruler.

Another highlight will be when the Royal Long Keris is presented to the King, symbolising His Majesty’s willingness to assume his role as head of state. The climax of the ceremony is when His Majesty takes his oath as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and three calls of “Daulat Tuanku” by Datuk Paduka Maharaja Lela followed by the audience in the hall.

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Strengthening separation of powers

Friday, April 14th, 2017

From the point of view of judicial independence, there are many objectionable features of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission’s set-up.

A CORE feature of a constitutional state is that the judiciary must be separate from and independent of the other branches of the state. Judges must be men and women of integrity, impartiality and legal wisdom.

Most constitutions contain some safeguards for judicial independence. But will the appointee soar above the timberline of the trivial and transcend the pride, prejudices and temptations that afflict ordinary mortals?

These are personal attributes that no constitution can guarantee.

Superior courts: Our Constitution seeks diligently to secure institutional separation between the superior courts and the other organs of the state.

The existence of the judiciary, the judicial hierarchy and the jurisdiction and composition of the courts are prescribed by law and not open to tampering by the executive.

The superior courts are structurally separated from and functionally independent of the executive and the legislature.

Eligibility and qualification for appointment are prescribed by the Constitution (Article 123).

An elaborate, multi-tiered consultation among the Prime Minister, top judges, the Judicial Appointments Commission, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Conference of Rulers precedes every judicial appointment (Article 122B).

Superior court judges have security of tenure and cannot be dismissed except on the recommendation of a tribunal of their peers (Article 125). Judicial salaries and terms of service are more favourable than those of civil servants (Article 125).

The King cannot transfer a judge except on the recommendation of the judge’s superiors.

There are restrictions on parliamentary discussion of judicial conduct or of cases that are sub judice (before the courts). Judges have power to punish for contempt of court (Article 126). They enjoy absolute immunity in tort and crime for their official work.

In some countries like Pakistan, the promotion process is insulated against politics and the appointing authority cannot disregard seniority. Regrettably our Article 122B offers no such protection.

Subordinate courts: Most of the above safeguards are unavailable to the hundreds of judges of our Sessions and Magistrates Courts.

This should be a cause of concern because 90% of criminal and 50% of civil cases are adjudicated in lower courts. To the ordinary citizen, the quality of justice is what happens in the subordinate courts.

Article 138: This Article provides for a fused judicial and legal service under a Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC).

The membership of the JLSC is quite controversial: the chairman of the Public Services Commission (PSC); the Attorney-General (A-G), or if the A-G is disqualified under Article 138(2)(b), then the Solicitor-General; and one or more judges appointed by the King.

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Govt declares April 24 a national holiday to mark King’s coronation.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has declared April 24 as an additional national public holiday in conjunction with the coronation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa said Section 8 of the Public Holidays Act 1951 (Act 369) allows the special day to be observed as a public holiday in peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

For Sabah and Sarawak, the state governments have been directed to take similar action according to the respective state laws, he said.

“The installation ceremony of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V will be conducted at Balairung Seri, Istana Negara on April 24, and in this regard, the Government, with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, will be holding two main events for the coronation ceremony.

“In the morning of April 24, the installation ceremony will be at Balairung Seri while a royal banquet will be held at night at the Banquet Hall of Istana Negara,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Besides that, Ali said two other functions would also be held, namely a Yasin recital as well as doa selamat and solat hajat (prayers) which are scheduled for April 20 at Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, and an exhibition entitled “Our King” to be held on May 2 at the Royal Museum (formerly Istana Negara).

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Honouring our nation’s architect and architecture

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

FEBRUARY 8 is the day of birth of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the father of our nation and the guiding light behind the Merdeka Agreements, the Merdeka Constitu­tion and the “social contract” that is implicit in our constitutional charter.

In honouring the memory of Tunku, it would be appropriate to rededicate ourselves to the ideals and values that animate our Federal Constitution and to reaffirm the Constitution’s position as the chart and compass and sail and anchor of our nation’s endeavours.

A group of civil society leaders has done just that by proposing that our nation’s Rukunegara be adopted as the Preamble to our Constitution.

The Rukunegara, proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Aug 31, 1970, contains five far-reaching, social and political objectives and five cardinal principles that gel well with the glittering generalities of our Constitution.

The five objectives are: to achieve greater unity among Malaysians; to maintain a democratic way of life; to create a just society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably shared; to ensure a liberal approach to our rich and diverse cultural traditions; and to build a progressive society which shall be oriented towards modern science and technology.

To achieve these five admirable objectives, the architects of the Rukunegara adopted five cardinal principles: belief in God; loyalty to King and country; upholding the Constitution; rule of law; and good behaviour and morality.

Not surprisingly the “Rukunegara Muqad­dimah Perlembagaan” (RMP) initiative has been opposed by many groups. The prominent criticisms, most of them grossly unjustified, are the following:

Initiative is redundant: It is argued by some scholars that the Articles of the Constitution already incorporate most of the objectives and principles of the Rukunegara. Also, Malaysia as a nation has performed commendably over the last 59 years and the initiative is quite unnecessary.

In reply to this it can be pointed out that constitutionalism is a journey and not a destination. While we have done well relatively speaking, there are dark clouds over the horizon.

The Constitution is under attack. Extre­mism is on the rise. Communal relations are frayed and a reinforcement of the ideals of the Constitution and the Rukunegara is timely.

Islam: The proponents of the Islamic state are arguing that the adoption of the Rukunegara would undermine Islam and the move towards an Islamic state built on sya­riah law.

In reply it can be pointed out that there is nothing in the Rukunegara that undermines Article 3(1) on Islam as the religion of the Federation.

In fact, the belief in the supremacy of the Constitution entails fidelity to Article 3(1) on Islam; the position of the King and the Rulers as head of Islam; and power of the State Assemblies to legislate on specified matters of the syariah that are enumerated in Schedule 9, List II para 1.

Though it is true that the Rukunegara refers to belief in “Tuhan” and “God” instead of “Allah”, this was absolutely necessary to take note of our multi-religious population, especially in Sabah and Sarawak. In any case, some Peninsular Malaysian Muslims are sensitive about use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Malay special position: It is wrongly alleged that the Rukunegara would weaken Malay special position, especially the idea of ketuanan Melayu.

In fact, the emphasis on a just society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably shared gels well with Article 153 on the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities.

Liberalism: The allegation that the Rukunegara’s support for “a liberal approach” is contrary to Malaysian values is ill-conceived and malicious. “A liberal approach” in the Rukunegara alludes to tolerance and acceptance of our rich and diverse cultural traditions – one of our nation’s strong points till lately.

Atheists: Some say that “belief in God” would violate the rights of atheists, agnostics, spiritualists, Sikhs, Theravada Buddhists, animists and many others whose innermost beliefs are not centred around God.

Here again, one must point out that the Constitution protects freedom of religion in Article 11 and, if creatively interpreted, Arti­cle 11 refers to all systems of beliefs, including animism.

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Welcoming the new King

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

THE election and accession to the federal throne of Sultan Muhammad V is a historic occasion for Kelantan. This is the second time a sovereign from the state has graced the office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The first time was from Sept 21, 1975 to March 29, 1979.

Constitutional position: In our system of constitutional monarchy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the formal head of the executive branch. A vast array of powers is vested in his office by the Constitution.

The functions of the King are not confined to the executive field but extended to the legislative and judicial branches as well. He is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the head of Islam in eight regions – his own state, Penang, Malacca, Sabah, Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

A literal reading of the Constitu­tion may create the impression that the monarchy is the real seat of power in the country, but the legal position is different. The King is the symbolic and formal head of state, but not the head of government.

He is the repository of vast autho­rity and dignity but very little power. He reigns but does not rule. In performing most of his functions, he is required to act on advice: Articles 40(1) and 40(1A). Save for some specific situations, the real wielder of political power is the Prime Minister.

Three categories: The powers and functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can be divided into three broad categories:

> Non-discretionary powers in the exercise of which the King acts on advice;

> Discretionary powers explicitly conferred by the Constitution; and

> Residual and reserve powers.

Non-discretionary powers: In accordance with Articles 40(1) and 40(1A), most of the powers of the King are exercised “in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet”. “Advice of the Cabinet” conventionally means “advice of the Prime Minister”.

There are two clarifications to Article 40(1). First, in relation to the appointment of judges and the Auditor-General, the King acts on the advice of the Prime Minister but only after “consultation” with the Conference of Rulers.

Consultation does not mean consent. Nevertheless, if the Conference of Rulers’ advice clashes with the Prime Minister’s advice, manifold possibilities arise.

Second, in relation to some functions, the King acts not on the advice of the Prime Minister but of other constitutional bodies like the Par­dons Board and the Council of Islamic Affairs.

However, despite His Majesty’s duty to act on advice, the King is not a mere cipher or mouthpiece of his advisers. He has a right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn.

Under Article 40(1), he may ask for any information in the possession of the Cabinet and the information cannot be withheld from him despite the Official Secrets Act. He may temper the counsel of his advisers and offer guidance from his own fund of experience.

He can privately remonstrate and offer strong objections to a proposed course of action, especially if the Conference of Rulers, acting under Article 38(2), had deliberated on a question of national policy and communicated its reservations to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The views of the Conference of Rulers under Article 38(2) are not binding on the Federal Government, but there is no doubt they could influence the nation’s goals and policies, and supply check and balance.

Discretionary functions: The general duty of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to act on advice is qualified by Article 40(2), which explicitly confers on him discretionary powers in some areas. These are:

> Appointment of the Prime Minister. This power is merely symbolic if the winner of a general election has an absolute majority in the Dewan Rakyat. But if there is a hung Parliament (in which no party commands a majority), the Monarch’s discretion can shape the nation’s political destiny;

> Refusal to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat before the expiry of its five years;

> Requisitioning of a meeting of the Conference of Rulers; and

> “Any other case mentioned in the Constitution”. These words probably refer to the King’s right to seek information under Article 40(1); the right to delay legislation by 30 days under Article 66(4A); appointments to the Public Services Commission and the Election Com­mission; the appointment under Article 43(2) of a caretaker government during the dissolution of Parliament; the right to refuse advice of the caretaker government during a dissolution; and compliance with the instructions of the Conference of Rulers under Article 38(2).

All the above powers are personal to the King. Though he may seek advice, he is not bound by it.

Reserve powers: Life is always larger than the law and no consti­tution can provide for every contingency. Lawyers generally agree that in addition to powers explicitly granted by a constitution, a head of a state possesses some reserve, unenumerated, inherent and prerogative powers that are implicit in the scheme of things.

Included in this list is the right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn; the right to award honours; and the right to refuse assent to legislation deemed by the Conference of Rulers to be unconstitutional.


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Sultan Muhammad V arrives to ascend throne as 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
Sultan Muhammad V at Parliament Square.

Sultan Muhammad V at Parliament Square.

SEPANG: Kelantan Ruler Sultan Muhammad V has arrived at the Bunga Raya Complex, KL International Airport (KLIA), for the swearing-in ceremony and signing of the instrument of office as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Sultan Muhammad V arrived at 10.16am Tuesday and was welcomed by the Raja Muda Selangor, Tengku Amir Shah, Tengku Laksamana Selangor, Tengku Sulaiman Shah and Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak, as Chairman of the Special Committee.

His Majesty passed by a static honour guard comprising two officers and 26 men of 1st Unit Royal Ranger Regiment led by Captain Mohd Hafiz Mohamad Noor, and proceeded in a motorcade to Parliament Square for the ceremonial welcome.

Sultan Muhammad V,47, was elected as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the 243rd (Special) Meeting of the Conference of Rulers in October.

The meeting also elected the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, as the Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In KUALA LUMPUR, the arrival of Sultan Muhammad V at Parliament Square at 11am was greeted by “nafiri” music performed by 14 members of the Army Royal Ceremonial Ensemble.

Sultan Muhammad V was welcomed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

His majesty was then escorted to the royal dais past an honour guard of lance bearers as the main honour guard stood in salute and the “Negaraku” (national anthem) was played by the central band of Royal Malay Regiment led by Captain Muhammad Nor Azizan Yahya.

Simultaneously, the colours of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong were hoisted, followed by a 21-gun salute.

Sultan Muhammad V then inspected a guard-of-honour comprising four officers and 103 men of 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment led by Major Mohd Riduan Basheer.


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Youngest Ruler selected

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

PETALING JAYA: Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who at 47 is the youngest of the Malay Rulers, will be the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The British-educated Sultan of Kelantan will be the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong since Malaysia’s independence.

Sultan Muhammad was selected on the final day of the three-day sitting of the Conference of Rulers amid the grand setting of the Istana Negara. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said the ascension will be effective on Dec 13 for the next five years.

Sultan Muhammad succeeds the 88-year-old Kedah Ruler, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, whose five-year reign as King officially ends on Dec 12.

In a surprising turn of events, Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, 59, was selected as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It had been widely expected that the Pahang Ruler Sultan Ahmad Shah, who was next in line for the post of Deputy King, would be selected.

Sultan Ahmad, who turns 86, later this month, was seen being driven in a yellow buggy inside the Palace to attend the meeting on the first day of the sitting.

This the first time that both the newly selected King and Deputy King are a generation younger than most of the other Rulers.

Sultan Muhammad was the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong before his elevation to the throne.

He was addressed as Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra before he took the official title of Sultan Muhammad V, in line with the title of Sultan Muhammad used by his ancestors.

He is the firstborn of three sons and a daughter by Sultan Ismail Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra and Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid.

He was only 42, when he was proclaimed Ruler of Kelantan in September 2010, succeeding his father who is incapacitated after suffering a stroke.

Sultan Muhammad would be the second Kelantan ruler to ascend to the throne.

The late Sultan Yahya Petra Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra and grandfather of Sultan Muhammad, was the sixth King from 1975 to 1979.

Sultan Muhammad was known as Malaysia’s “last bachelor crown prince” when he married Tengku Zubaidah Tengku Norudin from Pattani, Thailand, in a glittering wedding in 2004. However, the marriage ended in divorce.

The tall and distinguished-looking Sultan Nazrin is an accomplished royal and a PhD-holder who graduated from Oxford University and Harvard University.

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Controversy surrounding NSC Act

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Despite his general duty to act on advice, the King retains some discretionary powers.

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticisms of the National Security Council Act 2016 (NSC Act) received widespread media coverage last week. Some of his comments go far beyond the NSC Act and raise monumental issues of constitutional law.

Bypassing the King: Tun expressed remorse that in 1983, 1984 and 1993 his Government amended Article 66 of the Federal Constitution to curtail the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the legislative process. The amendments enable Parliament to bypass His Majesty if he does not consent to a Bill 30 days after presentation to him.

As a comment it can be stated that the diminution of the legislative role of the King by amendments to Article 66 did not confer legislative supremacy on the Houses of Parliament. There are still substantive as well as procedural limits on the powers of Parliament.

For example, there are four areas in which a Bill cannot become law without the consent of authorities outside Parliament.

> Altering the boundaries of a State. This requires the consent of the State Assembly and the Conference of Rulers: Article 2(b).

> If any law impinges directly on the rights or dignities of the State Rulers, its passage requires the consent of the Conference of Rulers: Article 38(4).

> There are nine topics in Article 159(5) that require a special two-thirds majority in both Houses plus the consent of the Conference of Rulers. These areas are: freedom of speech in relation to some “sensitive issues”; citizenship rights; position of the Rulers; applicability of the law of sedition to legislative proceedings; precedence of Rulers; Malay Rulers’ right of succession; Malay language; special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak; procedure for amending the Constitution under Article 159(5).

> Any law that affects the special position of Sabah and Sarawak requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority plus the consent of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri: Article 161E


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