Rome Statute backtrack: No one is above the law, writes Kadir Jasin

PETALING JAYA: No one in the country is above the law, not even our rulers, says veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, referring to Malaysia’s decision not to ratify the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kadir said that the Federal Constitution reigned supreme in a country such as Malaysia, where the constitutional monarchy system was practised.

He said that while Malaysians hold the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and state rulers in high esteem, they in turn should adhere to their roles as specified in the Constitution.

“It must always be remembered that constitutional monarchs are governed by the law of the land, in which the Constitution is supreme.

“Nobody, not even the monarchs, is above the law.

“The King and state rulers are immune to legal action only in the performance of their prescribed official duties,” he wrote on his blog on Monday (April 8).

Kadir added that he was prompted to write about the matter following several incidents involving the country's royalty that have come to light recently.

“I am alarmed by the tendency of a handful of princes to stray into the realm of the ordinary people by making politically-charged statements against the elected government.

“I think this is a dangerous game to play.

“Unlike their subjects, the monarchs are apolitical and above politics.

“As for the princes who feel that the people are not respecting them enough, or think that they can freely take to social media to lambast the elected government, my message is simple: come down from your royal perch and do Muhammad Ali’s rope-a-dope in the political arena.

“Why not?

“The late Tunku Abdul Rahman of Kedah took to the political arena and went on to become the country’s first and much loved prime minister,” Kadir said, adding that other examples include Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is a descendant of the Kelantan royal family.

The ICC governs the prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. After agreeing to ratify it, Malaysia withdrew.

Last Friday (April 5), the government had been forced to withdraw from the Rome Statute following “confusion created by those with political interests”, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Civil society groups have also condemned those who had opposed the ratification of the Rome Statute.