A friend of mine jokingly said that the BN Government is forced to build a new palace for the King because they were so embarrased to see that the “Istana Idaman” built by “Raja Zakaria” of Klang was bigger than our present Agong’s palace.
I have blogged about the new palace shortly after PM Abbdullah and his cabinet ministers have launched the work on the new palace. I commented that it was not right to build a new palace of such high price at the time when our economy and market are so sluggish, and whatever money we have should be used for schools and hospitals. Besides, the present palace is still in fairly good conditions and fit for our King. That’s what I told Reuters and Australian Radio when I was asked to comment on the subject.
I told the Australian Radio that the Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang had raised the question of proper tender for the new palace of which he did not get a good answer. I said we accept the fact that it costs Malaysians money to upkeep the monarchy system but we must be careful with our money. We do not have a lot of money to throw away, so to speak.
I also told the Australian Radio that while we were mindful that the King and Sultans should not involve in partisan politics, we hope the Royalty could speak out in the interest of the people, helping to shape the political landscape positively.
Just like the Thai King, the positions of Agong and Sultans were of great influence and they enjoy respect and support from the people in general. They have the right to advice the heads of the government and the people on matters important to the people ( such as politics, religion and ethnic relations).
I have cited HRH Sultan of Selangor as a good example. In recent months, the Sultan has spoken out for the people on several issues important to the people of Selangor and Malaysia.
I also expressed a great hope that the new King HRH Mizan Zainal Abidin could play a greater role in Malaysians life. The King of this country is the figure head of the state largely ceremonious. He is the nominal chief of armed forces and the supreme head of Islam, the official religion. He also sits on the Pardon Board, which is part of the judiciary system.