Human Rights Watch: Royals Should Stay Out of State Matters

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Royals should stay out of politics even in their own states as the people have voted in their state governments, said Human Rights Watch (HRW).

HRW Asia deputy director Phil Robertson told The Malaysian Insight that Malay rulers should respect the democratic process, adding that Malaysia is not an absolute monarchy.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

“The people have made their decision at the ballot box. They chose a government democratically. They didn’t vote for the kingdom to lead.”  

He was commenting on the role played by the Johor palace, which led to Putrajaya deciding not to ratify the Rome Statute.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim had said the international treaty would undermine the power and rights of Malays and rulers.

He had tweeted that the government failed to consult the Conference of Rulers when it agreed to accede to the Rome Statute.

Umno and PAS have taken the same stand, participating in a rally last weekend to demand that the government not ratify the treaty.

At a recent forum, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said Tunku Ismail’s claim is unfounded as the monarchy will not be held responsible for crimes committed by the state.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad early last month announced that the government would pull out from ratifying the Rome Statute.

He had said the public was not well-informed about the convention, and there were “people with vested interests” attempting to pit Malay rulers against the Pakatan Harapan administration. – TMI