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Date: 09 Dec 1999
Malaysian state sultan told to stay away from politics
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 (AFP) - A pro-government Malaysian daily told a state sultan Thursday to stay out of politics, saying his objections to a new government line-up in Negeri Sembilan caused a swearing-in ceremony to be postponed. The swearing-in of the chief minister and his executive councillors was postponed Tuesday, in what the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia blamed on palace objections.
"The palace was not happy with the state council line-up, and maybe with the chief minister Isa Samad himself. It tried to apply pressure with the hope that the line-up would be changed," the paper said in a front-page editorial.
"Whatever the excuse, the palace cannot interfere in the formation of the state government," it said.
"The palace cannot pressure the country's leadership into making changes. The 100 percent mandate given by Negeri Sembilan voters to the (ruling) National Front must be respected and upheld."
The newspaper reminded the state monarchy that its role was "purely symbolic" and that the palace should have quietly voiced its objections to the country's leadership instead of delaying the ceremony.
"We don't want to see any crisis," it said. "We urge the prime minister not to bow to any pressure from the palace ... we also urge the palace not to overstep its scope of duties and powers."
An assemblyman was earlier quoted as saying he had heard "rumblings" that state ruler Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman was unhappy with the line-up. Isa himself denied any interference from the sultan's palace.
The Sun Thursday quoted a state official as saying the swearing-in was postponed because it coincided with the ruler's state investiture ceremony and would now be held Monday.
Tuanku Ja'afar was Malaysia's king until earlier this year under its system of rotating the monarchy every five years. Nine of the 13 states have royal households.
Both the king and the sultans are expected to play a purely ceremonial role. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad moved in 1983-84 and in 1993-94 to curb the powers of the monarch and the local rulers.
Elections for the national parliament and state assemblies were held November 29.
+ Inilah keadaan negara kita. UMNO bawah MM ketepikan raja-raja melayu. Dialah pengkianat kepada raya dan bangsa melayu. Sebenarnya dialah Maharaja Mahathir yang penuh berkuasa. Sampai bila?