Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, the cries that were heard welcoming the procession of Sultan Muhammad V, the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agung of Malaysia into Istana Negara. Prior to the installation as our King, his majesty made an oath as required by the Federal Constitution article 37(1).
In the oath His Majesty the King swore to uphold and protect Islam at all times throughout his reign. This oath is an integral part of the responsibilities bestowed upon the King by the Federal Constitution. It is not merely symbolic in nature but as an undertaking to be observed at all times.
In and of itself this oath nullifies the claims that Malaysia is a secular nation. A state secular by definition practices dichotomy between administration and belief. As for Malaysia, the Federal Constitution mentions in article 3(1), that Islam is the religion of the Federation. Conversely for most secular states, secularism is embodied both in words and actions of their respective Constitutions.
India for example has a preamble that reads, “ WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”. And the rest is history, no one can doubt the secular nature of India in referrence to her Constitution.
As for us Malaysians, things are quite different. Being a Constitutional Monarchy, we abide by the King and so do the three branches of the government. It is the duty of all government office bearers to uphold the Federal Constitution and in spirit and form. The legislation, judiciary and executives have a responsibility towards the King in upholding the constitution. In fact they are obliged to assist the YDPA with His Majesty’s oath.
If there are those who claim that Malaysia is a secular nation as intended by our forefather, have to do so with proof. Proofs that are accepted in the Court of Law and carry weight in arguments. As for now, we live in a nation that practices a unique set of governance seen nowhere else.
A king that is bestowed power over the three administrative branches of the government. The Prime Minister who is the head of legislation, the Chief of Justice in charge of the Judiciary and the Chief Secretary to the Government overseeing the executive, all under the purview of His Majesty the King.
For now, we can lay this argument to rest.