Royalty Is Above Taking Offence, So No Need On Their Behalf

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Sanusi Nor has arrived at the sessions court here, where he is expected to face two charges of insulting Selangor’s Sultan Shrafuddin Idris Shah.

In a statement, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan urged party members to keep calm and respect the legal process.

PAS mouthpiece HarakahDaily had earlier shared on its Twitter account that Sanusi was arrested at 3am and brought to the Gombak district police station.

At a recent pre-election ceramah, Sanusi reportedly drew a comparison between the Kedah and Selangor sultans and said the Kedah ruler would not have appointed Amirudin Shari as the Selangor menteri besar.

The Jeneri assemblyman has since apologised for his remarks, which he claimed had been distorted by his political rivals in the unity government.

Yesterday, Sultan Sharafuddin said the issue “had yet to be resolved”.

Does the Sultan in this case really welcome such a prosecution on his behalf? The person in question has already been roundly ticked off by society in general and apologised.

The respect and soft power of hereditary monarchs in a democratic system relies on their good  reputation and the public’s genuine affection. It should not be – and indeed cannot be – enforced through threats and punishments.

Nor does it need to be. The wealthy and powerful have more than enough instruments to bat off untruths. They have a voice that is listened to and the resources to expose inaccuracies.

Prosecutions for ‘insults’ are rarely wise and this prosecution seems to have already been counter-productive in dividing the public and becoming politicised to the detriment of the unity of the state.

Malaysia’s generally lighter touch in this regard is, to a large degree, why it has a civil government compared, for example, to the military governments that have backed up the King of Thailand – against whom any perceived insult is brutally punished under law.

Likewise, pre-war Japan.

Consider which system has been the more stable and peaceful and where the affection for royalty is perhaps more genuine.

This crass PAS politician ought to have his apology accepted, therefore, so everyone can go home and concentrate on the real stuff of politics.

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