Thursday September 21, 2006
KUALA LUMPUR: The role of monarchs should not be merely symbolic, restricted to carrying out ceremonial and traditional duties.
In making this observation, the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah said a king was not “a frozen decorative monument without life.”
Raja Nazrin: ‘A king should exhibit a firm, intelligent and just character’
“A king should exhibit a firm, intelligent and just character, be rich in knowledge and experience,” he said yesterday at a special forum on the Muslim Malay monarchy system in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.
The forum was held in conjunction with the 60th birthday celebration of the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Raja Nazrin said a king should be able to bridge the old and the new and bring about reforms as well as retain traditions and be ready to institute changes by allowing modernisation to take place without discarding the richness of inherited customs.
For the king to act wisely, intelligently, fairly and equitably, he must have officials and advisers who are knowledgeable and do not have hidden interests, he said.
“A king should never feel pressured and should not have to give his assent if any advice presented contradicts the spirit of the Constitution, contravenes the rule of law and is in breach of the global principles of justice.
“A king should never favour actions that do not symbolise justice or accede to actions that do not reflect the truth,” he said.
Raja Nazrin said administrators appointed to govern a country must prove their loyalty to the king by carrying out their responsibilities honestly, sincerely and with full determination and commitment.
“A king falls because of the collapse of a country, and the country crumbles because of the people’s anxiety.
“Weak governance causes the people to be anxious. Defective governance damages the country and, in the end, weakens the king,” he said.
The strengths and weaknesses of a king, he added, were dictated by the strengths and weaknesses of those entrusted to be his officials and advisers.
“Those given the trust and responsibility to advise the king must speak the truth however bitter it may be,” he said.
Raja Nazrin said a king should not underestimate the role of the media, which was becoming more open.
“Managing the media is an art that requires skill, charm and prudence,” he said.
He suggested the creation of a website on the monarchy to allow the world to understand the institution of the monarchy from the palace’s perspective.
Raja Nazrin also said monarchs had the responsibility to help overcome terrorism.
He said they could, for example, initiate inter-religious and inter-cultural discussions, enhance the understanding of Islam, voice humanitarian demands and help those who were suffering, especially in Palestine, Afghanistan and Lebanon. –Bernama