Najib's palace forays need to be addressed by R Nadeswaran
Monday, May 09, 2022
Malaysiakini : Some years ago, the grandson of a ruler was beaten to a pulp by the
son of another ruler. Police reports and a court case ensued but the
media took little notice of it.
Parameters changed with social media
Previously, those who choose to comment on their conduct were labelled as “penderhaka”
(treasonous) and often incurred the wrath of citizens. Some have been
prosecuted, including even snide remarks said in passing or as satire.
writer has no intention of being disloyal or to question certain acts
of members of the royal household. But as a citizen and a writer, it is
his onerous duty to communicate and bring to their attention (and to the
public) the rumblings and murmurings on social media which are gaining
traction with the people.
Generally, citizens take cognition of
such impertinence and insolence but seldom have they made remarks,
except for private exchanges in coffee shops and restaurants. But with
the advent of social media, the parameters have been changed. Anyone
with a computer or mobile phone can express his or her views on various
platforms without incurring any costs.
over the past month, netizens have taken to social media to express
their views on what they perceive as not acceptable.
of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak seated on the high table with
the king and the prime minister at a breaking of fast event at the
Istana Negara prompted unprecedented comments.
Social media has
been buzzing with all kinds of comments from an array of people -
mentioning that Najib, who was convicted of stealing from the people and
spending it on himself and with his appeal pending - is being accorded
‘Committing crime is fine…?’
before lawyer Muhammed Rafique Rashid Ali took to social media, several
commentators sparked serious discussions on the issue.
On April 21, against the backdrop of a photograph of the buka puasa
function at the palace, he remarked: “High table. In front of honorary
guests, cabinet members, members of government bodies as well as the
judiciary and the legislature. Istana Negara needs to answer as to why
such treatment was given to PM6 (Najib).”
With a short video clip
of Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor being sent off at the steps of what
appears to be the palace, Rafique asked: “The people are watching. What
kind of message are you sending the people? That committing crime is
fine as long as they have strong connections?”
one thought that the issue had been forgotten, it was resuscitated on
May 5 when another post made its rounds on social media.
response, one commentator asked: “Personally, I feel insulted. As a
citizen, I’m very afraid to break the law. I am not worthy to step
within the palace grounds. I do my best for my religion, race and
country. But instead, are we, as citizens, slaves?”
Others did not
mince their words with diplomatic lingo. In a note to the
Communications Department of Istana Negara, one Manan Razali wrote a
lengthy appeal on Facebook.
Referring to two principles of the
Rukun Negara, Manan remarked: “When the king gives special treatment to a
world-renowned criminal, doesn’t it violate the principle of respecting
the rule of law? Doesn’t this also have a negative impact on the
sovereignty of law in this country?
“In order to clarify the
situation and remove the people’s anxiety about this, and so as to
preserve the image and prestige of the palace institutions in the eyes
of the people that should function as an umbrella to defend the fate of
the people, I think it is good and it is reasonable if the palace can
issue an official statement so that it can be looked at by all the
Remarks will continue if met with silence
remarks and views expressed are a reflection of the pain, anger and
anxiety caused to the man in the street that someone, convicted of
stealing money from the pension funds of civil servants, is being
honoured and entertained at the palace.
are restless and a few are agitated. Another wrote: “If this is the
attitude of Istana Negara, then where else can the people seek shelter?
When the people arise to question the contributions of the royal
institution, then it is said that the people are rebelling against the
king. But the king’s behaviour that is shown is creating hatred among
Such remarks will continue to make their rounds and
palace officials have to answer the questions posed by the people.
Manan’s post asks of this, but there has hardly been a whimper.
have nothing to add to these questions. Hopefully, some explanation will
help address the concern raised by citizens who care and are loyal and
owe allegiance to the king and country and want the palace to be seen as
a revered institution.