NSTP group managing editor, Jalil Hamid, deserves to be commended for the tremendous courage he has shown in revealing some of the undercurrents that caused the avalanche of protests from the intelligentsia over the controversial Johor Housing and Property Board enactment. (New Sunday Times June 15, 2014)

These undercurrents — essentially business ventures involving a Singapore billionaire and sons of the Sultan of Johor — raise fundamental questions about national sovereignty and the integrity of the royal institution.

The rakyat hope that these questions will be addressed by the Conference of Rulers. As an institution, it is in the best position to formulate clear guidelines on how Rulers and their immediate family members should conduct themselves vis-à-vis business and state administration. It is quite conceivable that there is already some notion of the boundaries that separate ethical from unethical conduct.

If there are such guidelines, it is time to re-evaluate them and renew the commitment of the Rulers to the values and principles that underscore these rules. After all, it is more than 20 years now since there was some sort of reflection in public on the conduct of the Rulers.

This may be an appropriate moment to undertake a reflection partly because the new Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah is not only erudite but also a leader who is passionate about good governance. He has spoken often about why good governance — at the apex of the structure are our constitutional monarchs — is vital for a just and harmonious society.


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