Prince William visited Redfern in Sydney yesterday. He is still in Sydney today.

I walked to Redfern just to see what it was all about. By the time I got there however, he has already left. Still, there were many people around. Police officers were everywhere. So were reporters. Those there seemed excited about having the Prince in their neighborhood. Somebody had a poster professing her love for Queen Elizabeth II. I suppose, somebody — like what somebody did at the Malay College in Kuala Kangsar to commemorate the visit of the Queen to the school — would erect a small memorial to remember the occasion, effectively saying ‘Prince William was here’ in a manner more refined than that of a graffiti artist.

The premier of New South Wales, Kristina Keneally, a proponent of republicanism in Australia said that the Prince is a “very charming” and “a young man of great character.” That however does little to reverse her republicanism. The Australian Labor Party, the party which Keneally belongs to as well as the party of the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, advocates republicanism.

I myself am a republican, though not quite a fan of the Labor Party. This stems from my distrust of institutions which claim authority from above rather from the bottom. I reject the idea of divine rights outrightly. Granted, these days the monarchy institution does not explicitly claim as such but its origin firmly belongs to that tradition. My egalitarianism mops up any spot that such distrust fails to sweep clean.

In that sense, to have an Australian republic is good. To have a Malaysian republic is ideal.

Yet, republicanism is never a priority for me, given a myriad of burning issues deserving more attention. It is down there somewhere in the priority list. To fight for republicanism appears to be indulging in an unwise battle where energy can better be used to issues that are more concrete.

This is especially so when the monarchy in Malaysia — a total of 9 houses and the Agong as the head of the 13-state federation — has limited power although from time to time, its influence has national repercussions, as observed in the aftermath of the 2008 general election, especially so in Perak. All this is thanks to the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. He may have overdone it but his maneuver ensures restriction to royal powers.

Besides, while I am reluctant to give ground to monarchists, the monarchy does in a way play a balancing role in Malaysia. The highly flawed Malaysian system of governance, due to damages done to it by Mahathir, ironically, enhances the space for the monarchy.

Until the issue of separation of powers between the three arms of government is addressed, and until the empowerment of states as proper member states of the federation rather than just units of a practically unitary state, republicanism in Malaysia, will remain bottom out of pile of concerns and even unlooked.

Despite considering myself a republican, I just could not care less about republicanism at the moment. I want my liberal democracy first.

One Response to “[2153] Of republicanism in Malaysia? Meh”

  1. […] improving the power of the sultan in the matter.[3] Remember, I am a republican. A dormant republican but a republican […]

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