The “Save Malaysia” campaign is all the pertinent and relevant when there are mischief makers who lodge false police reports when I said what all law students are taught in universities – that the Royal Address during Parliament’s Opening is the government’s policy speech.
The DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng, has lodged a police report against three mischief makers who had lodged a false police report against me for having committed the crime of sedition when I said that the King’s speech at the official opening of Parliament was prepared by the government-of-the-day, and I hope that the police would charge the three for their public mischief.
What really surprise me is that there are UMNO/BN Ministers and Members of Parliament who are so ignorant about basic constitutional and parliamentary principles and practices that their thinking are on the same level of these mischief makers.
I had more than once spoken up in Parliament to belabor this basic constitutional and parliamentary principle, as I had in the past been accused of disloyalty and treason for proposing amendment in Parliament to the motion of thanks to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for the Royal Address.
This is what I said in Parliament in my speech on the Royal Address on 21st March 2007:
“I rise to express appreciation of the Yang di Pertuan Agong for his maiden Royal Address to the joint session of both Houses of Parliament yesterday.
“In keeping with the conventions of the Malaysian constitution and constitutional monarchy, the Royal Address is not the personal speech of the Yang di Pertuan Agong but the policy presentation of the government-of-the-day for the next 12 months — and this is illustrated by the formal presentation of the government policy speech by the Prime Minister to the Yang di Pertuan Agong before the delivery of the Royal Address.
“This is why an amendment to the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address — which is very common and frequent in other Commonwealth Parliaments whether in the United Kingdom, Australia or India – is not a personal slight or attack on the person or office of Yang di Pertuan Agong but a proposal of amendment to the government’s policy presentation contained in the Royal Address.
“This is also why two days have been set aside in the 10-day debate for Ministers in the winding-up stage to defend the different aspects of the government policy presentation contained in the Royal Address.
“As the Royal Address is the government’s policy speech for the coming year, it is most extraordinary for Cabinet Ministers to be indulging in self-praise and self-flattery in giving glowing tribute to the Royal Address after its delivery, as if Cabinet Ministers are ignorant about the constitutional convention of the Royal Address being the government policy presentation for the year.
“Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for instance commended the Royal Address as ‘a comprehensive speech which reflects the aspiration and agenda of the government’, the Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s speech is ‘a reminder to everyone to continue to enhance to provide a more transparent public delivery system’ while Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s suggestion that the drainage and irrigation system be upgraded to prevent a recurrence of the monster floods in Johore reflected the government’s aspiration in improving the standard of living of the rakyat.
“I am not saying that the Royal Address cannot or should not be praised, but when Cabinet Ministers praised it, it is either self-praise or stems from ignorance of the Royal Address as the government’s annual policy presentation to Parliament.”
It is very sad that after 13 General Elections with the Malaysian Parliament building undergoing protracted and major renovation works to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2019 after the 14th General Election, there are still many in the country, including Ministers and MPs, who do not know that motion of thanks for the royal address or its equivalent are regularly amended in established Commonwealth Parliaments, as the Royal Address is not the monarch’s personal address but the policy speech of the government-of-the-day setting out its programme for the year.
Any amendment to a motion of thanks is not an attack on the monarch or head of state but an opportunity to table new policies, programmes or perspectives that should have been included in the government’s policy speech.
In Lok Sabha in India, hundreds of amendments are moved every year to the Motion of Thanks for the President’s Address. For instance, for the year 1993, there were 932 amendments to the motion of thanks for the President’s Address.
Similarly, such amendments are regularly made to motions of thanks in Commonwealth Parliaments, whether House of Commons in United Kingdom or the Parliaments of Australia, New Zealand or Canada.
Even in Malaysia, I had occasion to move an amendment to the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address in the Parliament meeting in October 1982 as well as in 2008, although the first was rejected at the voting stage and the second disallowed by the Chair on some spurious ground under the Standing Orders.
One objective of the “Save Malaysia” campaign which led to the Citizens’ Declaration in Kuala Lumpur last Friday must be to cleanse Malaysian politics and restore the purity, nobility and sanctity of politics as an important avenue to better the welfare of Malaysians and achieve Malaysia’s potential as an united, harmonious, progressive, democratic and a world-class nation instead of bogged down and even lost in the politics of lies, falsehoods and hate – like accusing DAP of being anti-monarchy when DAP has repeated declared in the past 50 years our loyalty and commitment to uphold and defend the system of constitutional monarchy as entrenched in the Malaysian Constitution.