KUALA TERENGGANU, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- The 215th meeting of the Conference of Rulers, held at the Istana Maziah here, issued a special press statement on several matters enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Following is the press statement in full issued by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah.
Press Statement issued by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal on the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers regarding the special privileges, position, eminence or greatness of the Malay Rulers, Islam, Malay as the national language, the special position of the Malays, and genuine interests of the other communities in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
The Malay Rulers who attended the meeting of the Conference of Rulers conferred on the issuing of this special joint press statement Thursday.
The Malay Rulers hold the constitutional role to safeguard the special privileges, position, eminence and greatness of the Malay Rulers, safeguard Islam, Malay as the National Language, and the genuine interests of the other communities in Malaysia.
The actions of certain quarters in disputing and questioning these matters, which formed the primary basis for the formation of Malaysia and are enshrined in the Federal Constitution, had caused provocation and uneasiness among the people.
In retaliation, several quarters particularly Malay leaders whether in the government or non-governmental organisations as well as individuals had expressed their dissatisfaction and anger against those who had made the statements and reports and organised the forums.
Among the reasons identified for these to have occurred is the cursory knowledge of those concerned regarding the historical background as to why these provisions were enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the influence of their attempts to implicate the principles of impartiality and justice without regard for the historical background and social condition of this country. Narrow political interests are also a cause.
Unless this phenomenon is arrested immediately, it can lead to disunity and racial strife that can undermine the peace and harmony which has all this while brought progress, development and success to the nation.
As such, it is necessary for the Conference of Rulers to emphasise and remind all quarters of these constitutional provisions besides giving emphasis to the assurance of safeguarding the genuine rights of other communities.
It has to be emphasised that each provision in the Federal Constitution has undergone the process of discussion, consideration, consultancy, sacrifice and compromise of the highest degree for what has been championed, discussed, considered, benefited from as well as agreed to by all quarters concerned, until the realisation of the provisions in the Federal Constitution which are known as the Social Contract.
It is not proper to dispute and question this Social Contract and more so to subject it to a review or change because it is the primary basis of the formation of Malaysia.
Therefore, it is appropriate for the Malay Rulers to remind that there should never be any attempt ever to test and challenge issues related to the Social Contract.
Truly, the leaders of the pre-independence era were insightful -- far-sighted. They brought along with them the Malay Rulers for the negotiations to claim independence. The Institution of the Rulers was retained and legally enshrined in the constitution of an independent Malaysia.
The Institution of the Rulers was accorded eminence, was positioned at the apex of Government, as the head of the country and the states, as a protective umbrella, ensuring impartiality among the citizens.
The Institution of Rulers takes on the role of being a check-and-balance factor to untangle complications, if any.
The Conference of Rulers also calls on the Malays to be united to safeguard the privileges, position, eminence and greatness of the Malay Rulers, safeguard Islam, Malay as the national language, and the genuine interests of the other communities in Malaysia as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It has to be emphasised that this agenda is more important and foremost than political or factional interests.
Non-Malays should not harbour any apprehension or worry over their genuine rights because these rights are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and provisions of the state constitutions of Malaysia contained in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.
It is hoped that with this emphasis, all confusion among the people regarding these matters can be contained and an atmosphere of peace, harmony and mutual respect can continue to exist among the people for the maintenance of order in the country.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, attended the meeting Thursday. His Majesty was accompanied by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The two-day meeting, which ended Thursday, was chaired by the Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah.
All the Rulers and Yang Dipertuas Negeri attended the meeting except the Rulers of Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan.
The Sultan of Pahang was represented by the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah; the Sultan of Johor by the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar; the Sultan of Terengganu by the President of the Regency Advisory Council Raja Tengku Sri Panglima Raja Tengku Baderulzaman Sultan Mahmud.
The Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan by the Regent of Negeri Sembilan, Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Tuanku Jaafar; and the Raja of Perlis by the Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Jamalullail.
Also present were the menteris besar and chief ministers except the Sarawak chief minister who was represented by State Planning and Resource Management Minister II Datuk Seri Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
The Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah, said matters related to defence, security, the national economy, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong scholarships, and proposals on the appointment of the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Malaya were discussed at the meeting. -- BERNAMA