Blind Loyalty? Re-Reading the Taj-us Salatin of Buchara al-Jauhari

By Farish A. Noor

As if it was not bad enough that Malaysia has been overrun by an outbreak of frogs – like a scene from some Biblical catastrophe – we now have to stomach the spectacle of humbug heroes and demagogues as well.

One is deeply distressed to read reports of conservative politicians and their followers crying for revenge against those whom they accuse of having offended the fragile sensibilities of the monarchs. According to one such report, Umno deputy Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin had asked his followers, referring to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, “In the old days, what did we do to those who commit treason?”

The crowd replied, “Kill him!”

Khairy then said they should only ask for Nizar “to be banished”.

Not being a legal expert, I am uncertain of the gravity of the actions of the abovementioned individual. From my own untutored perspective it appeared more like an invitation to violence than anything else. But being a historian myself I am struck by the first part of Khairy’s question, i.e. the phrase: “In the old days …”

The past is never simple

Now that the past has been brought up, the historian in me is compelled to respond by first reiterating that there has never been and will never be a simple, essentialised, linear past. The past is as complex as the present, and there are as many strains and currents of history that have been forgotten and marginalised as there are liminal presences that we remain unaware of.

To suggest somehow that “in the past” those who were found guilty of treason were due for severe punishment – death, in fact, according to Khairy’s followers – is obfuscating the facts. We need to also ask the attendant questions: Who has committed the alleged act of treason, against whom, and why? After all, Nelson Mandela was found guilty of treason and sedition too, for he openly challenged the authority of the racist apartheid state. Likewise the founding leaders of this nation of ours – men such as Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy, Ibrahim Yaakob, and Ahmad Boestaman – were likewise accused of treason and sedition as they struggled against British colonial rule.

On the subject of the relationship between the Malay monarchs and their subjects however, there has also been a lot written in the past that we ought to revisit in the present. The reason for this is that there has been this tendency to see and understand the relations between rulers and the ruled in purely one-sided terms favouring the rulers. Was this always the case? Was there ever a time when power relations in Malay-Muslim society were understood and configured differently?

I think so, and to demonstrate just that I would like to revisit the writings of Imam Buchara al-Jauhari, the scholar who pioneered what can justly be described as the beginnings of Malay-Muslim political theory.

Historic Malay-Muslim scholarship

During the bad old days of Western colonialism in Malaya, Western Orientalist scholars were keen to diminish the value of Malay-Muslim scholarship and to reduce important works of philosophy as mere fairy tales and fables. Not true.

There were texts written by scholars such as the Taj-us Salatin, Mahkota Segala Raja-Raja (1) (The Crown of Kings) of Buchara al-Jauhari (written in 1603 in Aceh); and the Bustan as-Salatin fi Dhikr al-Awwalin wal-Akhirin (The Garden of Kings and the Beginning and End of All Things) of Sheikh Nuruddin (written in 1638). These provide ample proof of the extent which Islamic scholars were already beginning to consider questions relating to the spiritual covenant between God and humankind, as well as the socio-political contract which bound ruler to subject.

These Muslim scholars were neither detached from nor indifferent to the nature of the political space they were penetrating. Indeed, not only were they aware of the political nature of the terrain they were operating in; their very mode of entry was itself political in terms of its strategic approach. By working both within and against the official ideology of the feudal system, Islamic scholars such as al-Jauhari and Sheikh Nuruddin played a crucial role indeed. Their attempt was to mould the wayward rulers into the ideal image of the Islamic ruler as God’s vicegerent on earth and defender of the community.

Nearly half a century before Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan would be published in England (2), Al-Jauhari’s Taj-us Salatin (1603) was already spelling out the duties and responsibilities of the ruler and the role of the court and the laws to restrict the king’s powers. As Taufik Abdullah notes, the function of Islamic texts such as the Taj-us Salatin is clear: it sets out the parameters and guidelines for good government in Islamic terms. It thus inevitably reduces the ruler to the status of God’s servant on earth. Furthermore, it places great emphasis on the role of the pengawal raja, the raja’s advisors, ministers and ulama to ensure that the ruler does not veer off the right path.(3)

What is radically different about the narrative of Al-Jauhari’s Taj-us Salatin when compared to most pre-Islamic feudal propaganda is that it reorganises the worldview of the feudal system in an unmistakable way. In many pro-feudal texts, loyalty is demanded and expected from the rakyat as the right of the ruler. The Taj-us Salatin, however, demands the loyalty of all subjects to the supreme power of omniscient and omnipotent God, thus distracting both loyalty and attention from the rajas themselves.

The emphasis on maintaining the ruler’s just conduct is not merely empty rhetoric or religious homily either. Al-Jauhari devotes several chapters on instructing the courtiers, advisors and servants of the ruler as well. In case the ruler should be in any doubt as to what kind of advisor he should seek, al-Jauhari clearly spells out the Islamic credentials that the ruler ought to look for in his staff:

“Dalam kitab Sifat As-Salatin, hendaklah yang raja itu sentiasa rindukan sahabat akan orang yang berpengetahuan dan orang yang berdiri pada pekerjaan ugama, dan sediakala bertanyakan daripada mereka itu pekerjaan ugama, dan peri orang berugama, dan diingatkan segala perkataan mereka itu.” (4)

These Islamic credentials are of crucial importance. For Al-Jauhari they serve as a safety check by ensuring that the loyalty and obedience of the courtiers is to God before the ruler. The duties of these advisors include the need to educate the king and to instruct future monarchs; the need to present all information that the ruler may require in detail and without fear; and the need to reproach the ruler if and when he or she transgresses the law. (5) For the first time in the history of the traditional feudal universe, the discursive territory of the ruling ideology was being opened up to new participants. The site of political activity was extended beyond the person of the ruler himself to include the courtiers, commanders, qadis, shiekhs and advisors of the court:

“Maka hendaklah raja yang kehendaknya mengerjakan adil dan memelihara akan beberapa orang yang demikian perinya dan pekertinya banyak bawanya dan kurang tanmanya dan keras ugamanya diserahkan raja segala orang itu dalam negeri supaya melihat mereka itu baik dan jahat negerinya, dan mendengar khabar pekerti segala menterinya, dan mengetahui perbuatan segala hulubalang dan hambanya, dan tahu pekerjaan rakyat negeri itu semuanya, dan disampaikan segala khabar itu kepada raja dengan sempurnanya. Maka seharusnyalah akan segala-gala raja-raja memeliharakan berapa orang yang demikian.” (6)

All of these demands are articulated via an Islamic ethical discourse which focuses the subjects’ attention upon their moral and political obligations primarily to God, and no longer the king solely. Should the ruler transgress the rules that God has laid down before him, he immediately forfeits his authority to rule (“erti-nya hilanglah daulat (raja) daripada sebab aniaya” (7)). The end result is a state of chaos and disorder that, by a strange twist, anticipates the Hobbesian account of the state of nature in the Leviathan that would be written half a century later.

A ruler’s place

Al-Jauhari has thus put the ruler in his place. The survival and prosperity of the realm depends upon whether the ruler rules according to the dictates of his faith and abides by its laws, which are, of course, the laws of God. Failure to do so leads to moral degradation, despair, and eventually, total chaos and destruction.

While symbolic power is allowed to remain in the hand of the ruler, the true centre of attention is thus relocated on a higher metaphysical level, beyond the reach of rakyat and rajas alike. It is clear that for Al-Jauhari it is God, and not the ruler, who is truly supreme and that it is God’s will and commandments that are to be obeyed and followed before the raja’s:

“Hendaklah segala hamba raja itu terlebih takut kepada Allah taala daripada takut akan rajanya, dan terlebih harap akan kurnia Allah taala daripada harap akan rajanya.” (8)

A ruler’s attributes

Amidst all this, the ruler is humbled and reduced to being the mere symbolic instrument of God’s will on earth. But even as a symbol of God’s will on earth, the ruler, for Al-Jauhari, is still required to possess and develop certain attributes and characteristics that are the prerequisites for the office of the leader of the community. Among these are piety, charity, fairness and truthfulness. Quoting the Kitab Fadhail al-Muluk, Al-Jauhari warns that the absence of any of these attributes immediately robs the ruler of his credentials:

“Sesungguhnya Allah Taala menitahkan akan adil dan ihsan. Bermula kehendak daripada adil itu kebenaran juga dalam segala pekerjaan dan segala perkataan; dan kehendak daripada ihsan itu kebajikan juga dalam segala pekerjaan dan perbuatan dan perkataan; dan keadaan kedua peri ini daripada sekalian manusia baik adanya daripada segala raja-raja itu terbaik; dan tari’la-lah kedua peri dan barang siapa daripada raja-raja yang tiada dua peri ini padanya tiada dapat dibilang raja adanya.” (9)

Bound thus by the code of law and the demands placed upon him by the faith and his role as the leader of the community, the raja has come to be an appendage to God. By placing the raja at the head of the state as the leader of the community, Al-Jauhari has also placed the burden of maintaining the image of religion on the ruler as well. Al-Jauhari affords the ruler no special privileges on account of his status as raja. Furthermore, Al-Jauhari insists that any ruler should come under particularly heavy scrutiny as he is meant to be the living embodiment of the law he is meant to protect. So great is the responsibility of the ruler that Al-Jauhari doesn’t even afford him the luxury of food and sleep as he undertakes his task of government:

“Maka harus-ah yang raja itu kurang makan dan kurang tidur dan jangan menurutkan hawa nafsu supaya dapat mengerjakan ia pekerjaan kerajaan yang maha sukar mengadakan dengan sebenarnya.” (10)

But such mortal rajas were also liable to fail in their tasks, and the Taj-us Salatin takes seriously the very real possibility that any ruler may occasionally commit an indiscretion. It prescribes the appropriate measures to remedy them without allowing for instances of divine mercy and intervention or even the sympathy of revisionist court historians. The ruler who fails in his duties and does not care for his subjects is told in no uncertain terms that his chances for eternal salvation are low indeed:

“Barang siapa daripada raja-raja yang tiada kasihankan rakyat itu diharamkan Allah Taala atas syurga.” (11)

And in cases where the raja has clearly gone beyond acceptable religious norms and standards, Al-Jauhari’s answer is clear: he is no longer the ruler of his people, but their enemy. (12) Citing the story of Moses and his fight against the fir’aun (pharaoh) as an epic precedent befitting the status of the royal subject he is addressing, Al-Jauhari commends the act of rebellion against any tyrannical ruler. By doing so he has prescribed a formula for legitimate disobedience, while remaining faithful to the tenets of Islam and the principles of Islamic law. For Malay-Muslim scholars like Al-Jauhari, Islam was both a discourse of legitimisation as well as a discourse of delegitimisation whenever it needed to be.

Re-reading the Taj-us Salatin today should remind us that in “the old days” (to quote a politician educated at Oxford) the Malay-Muslims were far more advanced in their thinking when it came to the question of power-relations between rulers and their subjects. The image of the docile, subservient Malay subject who is blindly loyal to his master may be of some comfort to right-wing politicians bent on developing a cult of worship around themselves. The same image certainly helped to maintain the racist politics of the colonial era too. But the Malays “in the old days” and today are far more intelligent and independent minded than some of our politicians give them credit for. Having insulted their intelligence today, try not to insult their past and history too, for heaven’s sake.


(1) Taufik Abdullah has noted that the Taj-us-Salatin, written by Buchara al-Jauhari in 1603 in Aceh is probably one of the most original Malay-Islamic texts to be found. Although eclectic in its composition, it was an indigenous piece of work, not a translation of Arabic, Persian or Indian texts. Its influence was felt as far as the courts of Surakarta and Yogyakarta in Java. (Abdullah, pg. 41).

(2) It must be noted that Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan was only available in England in 1651. He began work on the text while in exile in France in 1640-41. Al-Jauhari’s Taj-us Salatin was composed and completed by 1603 in Aceh, North Sumatra.

(3) The very first chapter of the Taj-us Salatin already begins with the universal declaration of the equality of mankind as creatures and representatives of God on earth. Its Islamic credentials can be found in the way that it draws examples from Islamic and Semitic history in order to illustrate the proper conduct of Muslim rulers. Citing the example of the prophet Muhammad as the exemplar ruler bar none (Chapter 10), the Taj-us Salatin notes down the necessary characteristics and obligations of the just Muslim ruler. These include the need to ensure the prosperity and livelihood of his people; to protect his people from all manner of calamities (from poor government, abuse of power to invasions from abroad); to ensure the stability and prosperity of the country; to protect those who cannot protect themselves such as the poor, the disabled, widows and orphans, etc.; and to ensure that he chooses good advisors and listens to their counsel. (Bukhair [Buchara] al-Jauhari, Taj-us Salatin [1603], edited by Khalid Hussain, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur, 1966.)

(4) Translation: “And it is written in the Qitab Sifat As-Salatin that the ruler should always seek the company of those who are knowledgeable, and those who are engaged in matters of religion, and he should seek their instruction in all religious duties, and enquire about the characteristics of the pious, and remember what is taught to him.” (pg 75)

(5) Ibid pp 71-74.

(6) Translation: “And therefore it is necessary for the ruler who wishes to rule justly to have several advisors around him whose characteristics are their dedication, lack of greed and strength in their religious devotions; and they are to be sent to all corners of the realm so that they may see all that is good and bad about it, (and they) must relate the reports from his ministers, and know of the deeds of his commanders as well as his servants, and know of the work of all his subjects; and all this must be conveyed without fail. Therefore the ruler must cultivate such a reliable staff around him.”(pg 72)

(7) Translation: “This means that he (the ruler) has lost his right to sovereignty due to his cruelty.” (pg 73)

(8) Translation: “And all the servants of the king must first of all place their fear in God almighty above all else and before their king, and they must also hope for the bounty of God almighty rather than their king.” (Hussain, pg 150)

(9) Translation: “Verily, Allah taala has demanded (us to be) fair and charitable. For from fairness comes truthfulness in all our deeds and all our words; and from charity comes kindness in all our labour and all our work and all our deeds; and these two virtues are found in all of mankind though in the ruler they are found most of all; and these two virtues, if they are not found in the ruler, then it cannot be said that the ruler is truly a ruler at all.” (pg 67)

(10) Translation: “And therefore the ruler should eat less and sleep less, and the ruler should never submit to his desires, so that he may be able to perform his duties of kingship which are such a great burdensome responsibility unto him.” (pg 71)

(11) Translation: “And whichever king who fails to show pity to his subjects, Allah taala has forbidden him from entering heaven.” (pg 70)

(12) AC Milner has noted that the in the Taj-us Salatin is the famous injunction: “Because the king is wrong, he has turned his face from Allah, those who deviate from Allah’s law and reject the syariah are enemies of Allah and Allah’s prophet. It is obligatory for us to treat the enemies of Allah as our enemies.” This, in effect, is probably one of the first attempts to give an Islamic license to revolt against one’s ruler in the kerajaan era, by turning a revolt into a holy war. (Milner, 1983, pg 26)

  1. #1 by mendela on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 9:41 pm

    UMNO party election is near. The more racist the candidate is, the higher the chance such bastard would win!

    So Mahathiu needs to be banished on what he did to the Sultans some 020 years ago?

    What about Rosie whom scolded Selangor Sultan over the phone as reported by RPK last year?

  2. #2 by lakshy on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 10:05 pm

    Umno is so bankrupt of capable persons. Look at the Perak Exco llineup! Isn’t the senior Exco member the lady who made the racist statement in the assembly about the indian and the snake? Hasn’t bn got any better candidates to offer. Why is MIC and PPP accepting such a racist?

    Let us make sure she loses her seat in the next elections.

  3. #3 by chengho on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 10:35 pm

    They watch too much Hong kong movie , have they watch a movie HERO by JET LI..

  4. #4 by pjboy on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 10:42 pm

    is this not equal to sedition? instigating hate towards another person? we truly have 3rd world politicians coming out of oxford.

  5. #5 by shamshul anuar on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 10:58 pm

    Dear Farish,

    Your comment is quite interesting. I am not sure whether you remember that quote of the century by Nizar ‘Patik mohon derhaka” when he refused to obey the Sultan’s command with regard to his status as Menteri Besar.

    YOur explanation on how Islam plays a very high emphasis on justice is commendable. However, I “fail” not to escape from assuming that you do not agree with Sultan’s decision.

    You have the right to disagree. But do remember that the Sultan has the final say on this matter. Simply because His Highness refused to dissolve the state aseembly does not mean that he is not fair.

    His Highness may have his own reason for not dissolving the assembly. Maybe he thinks that another round of election will increase the political temparature , time consuming and not to mention another season for slanders by politicians .

    I hope Nizar , being a Muslim, will be able to accept Qadha dan Qadhar. I hope Nizar comes to term that his govt has collapsed, no thanks to mind boggling Anwar’s greed .

    Nizar has quoted “Patik mohon derhaka”. Time has changed. A Malay nows feel nothing in insulting his own Sultan by uttering such a word( that I consider as treason).

    As for Lakshy, I take it you had not read what Sin Chew Jit Poh wrote prior to last election. Full of racism.

    As for Pjboy, what Nizar did is very unbecoming and insulting the Sultan . No if, no but.

  6. #6 by undergrad2 on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 11:06 pm

    “Not being a legal expert, I am uncertain of the gravity of the actions of the abovementioned individual. From my own untutored perspective it appeared more like an invitation to violence …”

    It is worse than the guy who screams “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

  7. #7 by raven77 on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 11:32 pm

    The Malays will never be a free people. They will forever be slaves to the Sultans and feudalism will ensure the death of their race…..everyone after Razak has made full use of them.

  8. #8 by ariff55 on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 11:42 pm

    Fire!!! Fire!!! yeah yeah yeah i remembered that except if U taubat and terima ISLAM the past is history

  9. #9 by suaramamak on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 11:56 pm

    in the old days probably mr harry would have been challenge to a duel in a zilat fight to the death with the keris! and probably would have die many times over!

  10. #10 by sani on Wednesday, 11 February 2009 - 11:58 pm


    I think most of us respect the culture of Malaysia which included the Monarchy, or else they would had be long banish, like the Nepali Royal family just recently.

    We Malaysians generally love our Constitutional Monarchs, CONSTITUTIONALLY + CULTURALLY.

    What kills the Royalties most of the time, are some madly patronizing “Royalists”, whom keep pitting Tuanku against his subjects. Those people are really doing the derhaka.

  11. #11 by dawsheng on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 12:29 am

    “His Highness may have his own reason for not dissolving the assembly.” – Shamshul Anuar

    His own reason? The reason he is still the Sultan because the Rakyat is stupid!

  12. #12 by lhslhv on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 12:32 am

    The mentality of the hard core Malays have not progressed too much after 50 years of independence. This is because Malaysia has this kind of people to lead them.

    The trouble is the less educated Malays assume that the educated Malay from Oxford must be smart and wise. They did not know that they are not putting on their independent thinking hat!

  13. #13 by dawsheng on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 12:41 am

    There is no way the Rakyat can continue to feed all the Royalties and their families when the country is becoming poorer.

  14. #14 by Rocky on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 12:53 am

    KJ gives Oxford a bad name. maybe they should ban him from ever setting foot there. But do not for the police to take action against him or UMNO cos they are above the law. even a Sultan can’t have such protection.

  15. #15 by ablastine on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 12:55 am

    As I see it, the only way that Malaysia and especially the Malay as a race can ever come out of their slumber and compete with the world is to have a large group of educated and reasonable Malays to lead their race on. The Chinese and Indians will only be in Malaysia for a short time to help uplift the mass and show them the way but instead of appreciating God’s most precious gift to the land racist, opportunists and idiots like Khairy squandered all these away. It never occur to these idiots that if finally when all the able bodied Chinese and Indian have left the country from these apartheid and discrimination where will the Government get the money to feed them as non Malays pay more than 80% of the taxes. Malaysia has been blessed in many ways but cursed with people like this monkey Khairy, Mamak and of course our C4. There is only one chance for Pakatan. If they break up and fail to take over in the next election, it is game over for especially the Malays in Malaysia. They will be exodus of CHinese and Indians from Malaysia because there will be no more hope and to stay will be to face inevitable doom.

  16. #16 by bclee on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 2:12 am

    the police need to put KJ in kamunting jail on this case before any voilence ocur. instigating stimulate violence.

  17. #17 by wanderer on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 2:56 am

    How to put this oxford instigator in kamunting jail. The HM is too blur, his vision can only see as far as his nose. He cannot even see an illegal gathering of samsengs and uncouth demonstrators making a nusiance of themselves and creating insecurity to the town folks.
    I wonder, how many in the crowd really understand what the issue is all about!

  18. #18 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 7:57 am

    This talk about killing or banishing for treason is pure rabble rousing and hypocrisy, bereft of sense.

    First of all, we’re not “in the old days”. Those feudal days of Hang Tuah/Jebat and blind obedience to Ruler are gone forever. Today’s constitutional ruler is no superior autocratic monarch of medieval times being above the law – and the very source of the law, mandated by the Almighty to rule!

    Today a constitutional monarch is subject to and not above the law. Laws are not even made by the Ruler : they are made by people’s representatives in Parliament, and the Ruler’s role is reduced to formality of affixing his Royal Consent, which even if withheld, will automatically be deemed given after a lapse of time of 21 days. Who then was responsible for making the royal consent “automatic” in this sense? Who was responsible to subject the Ruler to laws and take away their royal prerogative to withhold consent indefinitely or make them triable for criminal acts under Special Constitutional Court? Who organized a series of national rallies (in which UMNO Youth probably also participated) in support of the constitutional changes to clip Rulers’ absolute powers and succeeded?

    The Deputy Youth Chief would do well to bremember ethat it was none other than UMNO ex President – Tun Dr Mahathir with UMNO’s support then!

    If Mohammad Nizar’s so-called “disobedience” to Ruler to stand down due to his different take on Perak Constitution were “treason”, how much more treasonable it would be for UMNO’s ex President with UMNO support to clip by constitutional amendments the traditional powers of the Rulers and subject them to law/constitution way back then? That was not just disobedience: that was clipping & usurping Ruler’s traditional powers!

    Not that I think TDM’s action was not justified. It certainly was – in modern times of Parliamentary/representative system of government based on sovereignty of the people determined by ballot box and not sovereignty of Monarch.

    In the present system it is the Prime Minister who is the de facto “monarch” whose advice the traditional Monarch has to heed as prescribed by the Constitution!

    It is trite that the term “constitutional monarch” (as distinct from absolute monarch) means a monarch subject to constitution and since constitution is interpreted by courts neither Nizar’s refusal to accept the Ruler’s interpretation nor Karpal’s principle to take the interpretation to court is anything out of ordinary in this parliamentary cum constitutional scheme of things for treason to be shouted!

    Even the PM – the defacto monarch is no more above law or constitution than the constitutional monarch whom the PM advises!

    HRH the Sultan of Perak would also be the last person to deny this. It should be recollected in HRH’s favour that he is not only erudite in constitutional law and role of constitutional monarch but he was also the then Yang di pertuan Agong to give his royal consent at the then TDM’s administration’s behest to constitutional amendments clipping the powers of fellow brethen Rulers and subjecting them to law and the Special Constitutional Court.

    So what is this selective rabble rousing about treason and banishment of Nizar or Karpal for not submitting blindly and unquestioningly to the Ruler on matters of constitutional interpretation when the same demonstrations in those days were in support of TDM’s clipping of rulers’ absolute powers?

  19. #19 by mata_kucing on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 8:28 am

    Unfortunately in this beloved land of ours, sycophants are a dime a dozen. Throw a few crumbs on the floor and they will crawl on their hands and knees. 50 years of Umno’s brainwashing has seen to it. It doesn’t take much to create a bloodbath. With the police who think their salaries come from Umno, those who are running or shall I say ruining the country are behaving exactly like despots. Come what may, we must throw them to the dustbin of history.

  20. #20 by trublumsian on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 8:30 am

    rouse the mob thats what kj was doing
    the mob who cant think an iota with their untamed blood gushing in their veins crying “kill, kill”
    and the rouser who ought just strip to his tribal feathers and skin
    the country is being run by cavemen in street clothes

  21. #21 by comingto50 on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 8:49 am

    It’s really tough to read your article. Your article is very good but I think it’s targeted to small group of learned crowd eg academicians. Can you write something simpler. Remember the majority of the people would prefer simple and easy reading. The idea is to get the majority of the people to easily understand.

    I remember at one time when Anwar Ibrahim was the DPM going round the country to give speeches he used bombastic words. The old man DrM reminded him he is speaking to kampong folks. They lokk blur blur lah!

    What’s the objective of your article?

  22. #22 by monsterball on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:00 am

    aiyah..This Farish is long winded…bring out…European history…quoting Islamic verses…making fun of the frogs from Moses experiences…talking about Khairy and Nizar…with the famous for and against…making readers groggy.
    Why so many quoting and comparing English history with what’s happening here?
    Who cares there are similarities.
    Corruptions and dictatorship…always cause hardships to citizens….of any country
    Why need to teach us?
    Bottom line….CORRUPTIONS and unfair decisions by the Sultan…with personal ulterior motive…true or not?
    If not true….vote UMNO in….at the 13th election.
    If false……vote UMNO out….but true or false….UMNO time is up.
    Only idiots will have one party manage us for more than 52 years. How many more idiots..being brainwashed by UMNO left in Malaysia?
    Why talk this or that… not right or fair..when the whole country is encouraged by UMNO to depend on them…while everyone one of their families .relations are filthy rich doing nothing…..enjoying life…as if they own the country?
    Is corruption a fact or fiction?
    It is a FACT….encourage by Mahathir for 22 years and on going..ow more than 30 years.
    UMNO is drunk with power by using money…stolen from us.
    Melaka MB dare to say openly..UMNO will rule forever.
    Which country politician dare to talk like that?
    And yet..he is a favourite to win UMNO VP election in March..
    You can say…..UMNO is the smartest political crooks on Earth.
    I will say…..UMNO have no morals and ethic..and real thick skin munafiks…braggarts animals.
    Who can read the Sultan of Perak wise mind?
    Like I said..let the Sultan teaches us how to be lawful citizens…and stop teaching is morals and ethics.
    Some are blessed with so call god gifted power or elected power…but the real power in a country…lies with the voters.
    People’s Power must be serious…responsible like…practical…logical….sensible voters.
    If people think like that…almost all voters…including UMNO members will vote change of government.
    Khairy can provoke as much as he like.
    Malaysians are calm…inspired by no religion…race nor from other country…but by one FACTUAL man’s success in freeing his country….Mahatma Gandhi’s.. non violence and disobedience ways.
    He freed India.
    Why don’t Farish Nor write… to free us and stop talking nonsense…with smart art….how to agree to disagree.
    If he is so smart….talk about.. for or against change of government….their..good and bad points.
    And if he dares to suggest good to have UMNO elected again….he is a nut and a pro UMNO man.

  23. #23 by Thinking Two on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:10 am

    Yes. He came from OxFoot!!!!

  24. #24 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:37 am

    To rabble rouse a mob, one stirs emotions than appeals to reason, hence no need to present the pros and cons, and this and that side of situation or use more nuanced language of Farish : more effective is use of simple and better still fragmented language for easy mental digestion, stroking the hateful passions of the simple minded by always pointing finger of blame clearly and crisply one way only…Yes We don’t have to be one amongst the demonstrators to see first hand how this dynamics work and the interaction between a typical political rabble rouser/ demagogue and simplicity of minds of his target audience. We experience this here and there and everywhere and could recognize when it happens.

  25. #25 by taiking on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:48 am

    As an man with education he knew very well that he is speaking nonsense. If he does not then good money has been wasted on his education. But why then did he chose nonsense to speak on?

    First, fellow umnoputras are a pack of rubbish for being products of umno’s (-)meritocracy system. So they would listen to him and accept his views like they were God’s views. Secondly, he wants to incite hate and violence.

    Doesn’t he realise that the sultan himself was not troubled (as far as I know from the media) by the reactions to his very unpopular decision? Of course he does. Which then makes things worse for him for he may be seen to be kicking up a mountain of dust out of nothing.

    His big mouth has already brought grave consequences to bear upon the shoulder of badawi his f-i-l. From now on najib would have to bear them. Good for umno and najib. And good for the nation because he will continue to irk voters in the country.

    Speaking in those terms maybe acceptable 30 years ago. But today, they are totally and hopelessly out of place. Not even “yo-ing” along as he speaks could update that outdated political rhetorics. My view of him: idiotic and with time to spare I may (sometimes) find him comical.

  26. #26 by taiking on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:50 am

    Oh yes an omission. In case you guys are wondering, I am refering to Hairy.

  27. #27 by Saint on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 10:25 am

    Talking to deaf and writting to the blind.
    UMNO is both deaf and blind.

  28. #28 by hawk on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 10:27 am

    Actually this feudalistic culture and that mumbo jumbo of ‘derhaka kepada sultan’ and the demand of absolute or blind loyalty are infact hindu culture and was never a malay culture.

    The first recorded history of Sultanate in Malaysia is that of Parameswara who proclaimed himself Sultan and reign from 1401-1424 in Melaka; a good 20 yrs plus just like Mathir being Pm for 20yrs. He was in fact a Hindu Sultan from 1401-1414. They practiced hindu rites and customs in the palace crts. Most of the palace officials are also of hindu origins. That is why many malay customs now are richly laden with hindu practices and beliefs which islamic scholars has decreed to be forbidden by islam.

    Part of the Hindu Sultan and hindu crt officials political strategy to submit to their rule and control the malay masses who has nothing to do with this Hindu Sultan then was to spread the false belief that this Hindu sultan was the reincarnation of God or Godly sent beings and they have what you called ‘daulat’ and they should be obeyed absolutely; the failure of which is regarded as ‘derhaka’ or treason. This is all for political and economic reasons.

    Just imagine, a malay community in Melaka having a Hindu Sultan who praciticed hindu rites and customs for nearly 13 yrs. For political and economic reasons also, this Hindu sultan converted to Islam in 1414 and assumed a muslim name.

    Therefore you can see that the Sultans of Melaka wer all of Hindu origins. With the fall of Melaka in 1528, some of them migrated to Johor, Pahang and Perak and became Sultans there.

    Umno’s recent behaviour in shouting ‘derhaka’ and ‘ingkar titah raja’ is just an attempt to revive this culture of hinduism which has no place in muslim or malay society.

    In modern day Malaysia which practises parliamentary democaracy with a constitutional monarchy, I would say the Perak Sultan has shown himself to be disrespectful towards his MB and also towards the rakyat. Telling your MB to tender his resignation is the most disrespectful behavior exhibited by the Sultan. I can’t fathom any other conclusion.

    I would think that the institution of monarchy would be safeguarded and protected by the people as long as Rulers did not misbehave themselves and did not take upon themselves in usurping the rights of the people to choose their own govt. I tend to agree with Karpal Singh that the Sultan of Perak should be the First Defendant in the suit to be filed by MB Nizar. He has shown utter disregard to the will of the people and had behaved disrespectful to his own MB. Instead he seems to have hailed the despicable defectors as heroes for toppling his own government. Such contradiction in the thinking of the Sultan and Perakians.

    In modern society, between the interest of the Sultan and the rakyat, the interest of the rakyat reign supreme. The Sultan is himself installed by the rakyat. Pure and simple and plain common sense.

  29. #29 by justice 4 Malaysia on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 10:42 am

    He’s inciting hatred; he’s openly calling for daily demos, yet he’s roaming free…I would say: Lock him up!!!

  30. #30 by michael13 on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 11:39 am

    There are basically three(3) types of powers existed in this world. They are Principle-Centered Power, Utility Power and Coercive Power. The study shown only the Principle-Centered Power will lead to honor and sustained proactive influence. The recent saga of the change of Perak’s Mentri Besar were the results of using both utility and coercive powers and their impacts are only temporary. Dissolving the assembly is the only Rakyat’s wish and the upcoming two(2) by-elections’s results will be a good testimony to that denial of democratic rights of Rakyat.

  31. #31 by ktsk88 on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 11:48 am

    Quoated by Shamsul Anuar:

    Nizar has quoted “Patik mohon derhaka”. Time has changed. A Malay nows feel nothing in insulting his own Sultan by uttering such a word( that I consider as treason).

    Do you knows that the words “Patik mohon Derhaka” as mentioned by Mohd Nizal is a palace words meaning ” I begged to differs on opinion”. Therefore dont just takes any meaning of the words just by directly translating it. This show how shallow u r.

    Of course the Sultan have to final said of the day, but if you read the Perak Constitution Act, the royal Highness have a final said in any matters related to State’s EXCO member and not on MB. Since he can installed Mohd Nizal as MB in Mar’08………in reality he should also do it according to law by given Mohd Nizal the same treatment in asking him to resigned……not by words of mouth. The same goes to any institutional or companies that employed a person sure providing him a proper appointment letter or termination letter and not by word of mouth. The employees sure will lodged a report to Labour’s Department for unfair dismissal,cost and reinstatement of employment Same goes for Mohd Nizal and the PR government have the rights to file the legal case to court. But they left out the Sultan in this case and charged the new MB instead.


  32. #32 by ReformMalaysia on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 1:11 pm

    Well…in old days..when people are not educated, not civilsed… treating king as highly as God..

    So, if the sultan asked Khairy Jamaluddin to jump into a SEPTIC TANK where the sultan’s ring dropped into it, will Khairy Jamaluddin carry out that instruction?

  33. #33 by despin on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 1:58 pm

    Khairy’s objective was to generate support for his Umno Youth’s top post bid. Let’s hope that the Umno youths are wise enough to elect Mukhriz and put an end to Khairy’s career in politics.

  34. #34 by Yee Siew Wah on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 2:07 pm

    This cunning apportunistic “Oxfart” monkey KJ is jumping and shouting like a pariah again. If an opposition member do like what this idiotic “Oxfart” monkey does, that pea brain, racialistic baldie will certainly lock him up in ISA.
    Expected from this monyet as UMNO youth election around the corner. What a real [deleted] he is.
    LKS should whacked this “Oxfart” monkey again in Parliament and any by elections. Make it real good this time. It will be real fun and entertaining for the rakyat.
    Meanwhile, let us not forget that 4 jumping immoral and greedy froggies. Give them a real hard time too. [deleted] When this traitor comes back, Perakians must give her an “unforgetable” welcome.

  35. #35 by monsterball on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 3:14 pm

    Khary?…why that budak kechil will be like the kancil car….no room for more gangsters to join him.
    He is finished….if not by March….at least by 13th election.
    It is written in his fate…it shall be done.
    I will not pay too much attention to Khairy.
    The more you acknowledging he is a powerful political figure.
    But it he talk of kris and blood….will flow…just remember…he is trying to fool us…he is talking like a Malay…and representing Malays.
    Talk is cheap. Dare him to do it.
    Get into his are agreeing to talk..race politics.
    We are Malaysians!!
    Malaysian Muslims….much much more than those munafiks and crooks in UMNO…do not respect Khairy at all.
    Remember…even if Khairy have one supporter….he will talk like samy vellu…as if he is talking on behalf of his race..millions of them.
    Just like Gerakan..dead and gone…yet behaving representing millions…so is that UMNO puppet…..MCA.
    Khairy is an ikan bilis…dried up…useless.

  36. #36 by ringthetill on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 4:35 pm

    We live in a modern world, some countries practice true democracy better than others, and yet some in name only. No matter what, the interest of the rakyat must come first, and I mean not just a section of the populace.
    Please don’t allow the racist ones to sabotage the democratic and rule-of-law process. The children have been taught to fight when they know they are right. If the rule of law does truly prevaail, it should apply fairly to all. This, the legal custodians and the enforcers must learn to understand is the very reason for their existence.

  37. #37 by ReformMalaysia on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 7:51 pm

    Nizar & Karpal committed treason (Derhaka) against the sultan?

    But UMNO committed Derhaka against God/Allah -when the committed corrupt acts , Cronyism, nepotism, racial discrimination, slandering, taking illegal commission from official purchases .

    A king is no greater that God! Kings are human being too -they make mistakes too. And in Malaysia, they are not above the law.

  38. #38 by mendela on Thursday, 12 February 2009 - 9:45 pm

    Yes, very true, totally agree with you, mosterball!

    Kera is a dead meat when Rosie comes into power! Nothing but dead meat!

  39. #39 by cemerlang on Friday, 13 February 2009 - 12:24 am

    Talking about blind loyalty. Some big shot wanted Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir to be the Chief Minister and being loyal without questioning, he took up the post without having to do anything. Very quickly, RTM helped to make him look good by giving him an interview. He talked about peace and stability which is not actually peaceful and stable after what his party has done. One Sultan versus the people who go for elections. Don’t you feel that you have wasted time, energy and money voting for the one you support ? What the Sultan did was like ignoring all your voices and showed his favouritism towards some whisperers. You cannot say that the Sultan never did any wrong. He is as human as you are. As for the royal blood thing, his genes will never be able to tell if his flesh and blood is royal and yours is not royal. All that his genes can tell is that he is from this line of people. It is humans who make him like god. It will also be humans who make him like human. Some traditions make no sense. Some traditions are wrong. So if these traditions make no sense and are wrong, then the people should not continue practising those traditions. They should be very intelligent and do away with those traiditons that serve no good purpose.

  40. #40 by anna brella on Friday, 13 February 2009 - 7:51 pm

    Once again, the ever erudite Farish Noor has written, in my view, an insightful and interesting article that sheds a little more light, and which, hopefully, will help clear away some more of those cobwebs from the abysmal ignorance that has sadly plagued Malaysians, courtesy of UMNO/BN’s disappointing educational policies.

    And speaking of ignorance, the UMNO MP from Rembau never fails to remind one of that Gaelic saying which laments about how “you can take the man out of the bog but not the bog out of the man”.

    So it looks like even the long trek to those supposedly high churches of reason in Oxford from the deep, dark jungles of Rembau is no guarantee of a cure from that age-old wisdom.

    “Imagine Power To The People” John Lennon.

  41. #41 by good coolie on Friday, 13 February 2009 - 9:11 pm

    HRH Sultan of Perak had a golden opportunity to weigh in against party hopping by holding the Pakatan Government valid until one of the following happens:-
    i) the courts holds that the defectors’ resignations were valid;or
    ii) there is a no-confidence motion against the government of
    Perak (voted on for the time being without the “resigning”
    When he was an eminent judge, he had to give reasons for his decisions. So many disppointed people now crave for an explanation that might justify HRH’s decision. Would one be forthcoming?

  42. #42 by shamshul anuar on Saturday, 14 February 2009 - 11:18 pm

    Dear Reform Malaysia,

    An apt question. Before asking Khairi to jump, why dont you ask yourself on what to be done in that same predicament. Will you jump?

    As for Cemerlang, what is good for goose must be good for gander. If Nizar can claim on “divine intervention” when The Sultan chose him to be MB, he should also use the same logic on the collapse of his government.

    As for dawsheng, well you are blind as a bat. The reason why the monarchy with its pomp and pageantry prevails in Malaysia is because the vast majority of Malays want them. As Dr Mahathir clearly said in Malay Dilemma “The first thing that come into mind when we talk about the Malays is that the vast majority of them is feudalist and wishes to remain so. Therefore, any movement that preaches the destruction of established monarchical sysyem will not survive”.

    Why the Malays prefer this kind of system? Dr Mahathir gave a clear answer by saying ” Remove the royalty, the last vestige of old Malaya will dissapear. It is the royalty that gives a Malay character to this coiuntry”.

    UMNO accepted with heavy heart when the Sultan on march 2008 did not order PAS and UMNO to form a “kerajaan campuran”. UMNO believes it has strong case in Perak as it is the party with largest seat , to be exact. IT however, accepted the Sultan’s decision.

    So, now, Nizar has to accept reality that his govt collapse, no thanks to greed and manipulation of PR leader, Anwar.

    As forReform Malaysia, well well look who is talking about cronism? Why on earth Guan Eng becomes Secretary General of DAP is not through manipulation of Uncle Lim. Tell me why Penang DAP Chairman was sidelined”. If Azizan becomes MB of Kedah due to his post as Pesuruhjaya PAS Kedah and MOhammad Hassan as UMNO State Chief , why Penang DAP Chairman was ‘left out”.

    As for racism, if UMNO is for racism, MCA, MIC , Gerakan will be history now. There will be no more vernacular school. It will be just like Thailand or Singapore, one school system.

    UMNO needs no be apologetic that it supports Malay interest. Certainly it is suicidal to expect DAP to take care of Malay interest , jugding from its lewd antics in May 13 or treating NIzar is no more than a puppet; a fact that all PAS members in silence when I said to their face.

    Instead of blaming Najib, why not do some soul searching. Was not the collapse due to Anwar’s greed as what Karpal clearly said. Karpal clearly said it out loud, point blank to the face. Anwar resulted Nizar’s govt to collapse. In his game of bribing MPs( consented by Uncle Lim no less), he forgot that the weapon to destroy BN can be used against him. WHo started the game? Who “enticed” ADUN Bota first?

    As for the Sultan, His Highness just exercised His discretion in this Perak turmoil. The decision is exclusively his. Like it or not.

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