Puchong, Selangor, 7 March: MALAYSIANS seem to be warming up nicely to their new King, Sultan Muhammad V previously known as Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra. Not only is he young (born 1969), the 15th Yang diPertuan Agong is dashing enough even if he decides not to shed those little extra kilos, is unbelievably single, and has "character". Well, if you can become viral just because you were uncapping a bottle of mineral water by yourself, you ooze "character". What's clear is Sultan Muhammad V defies the stereotyped idea of what a Malaysian Royalty is (or should be) and that's why a lot of Malaysians are starting to adore him.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the Sultan of Selangor, remains one of my favourite, nonetheless. Because he is people friendly, dignified yet unorthodox and, above all, outspoken for the right reasons. The Selangor king has been known to speak out against politicians, especially those from the ruling state government (now and previously), without being seen as meddling. That, to me, is a righteousness that has helped preserve the sanctity and integrity of the Istana.
I am, therefore, loath to know that the HRH's name may have been used without his consent in a court case that's now awaiting judgement between Majlis Agama Islam Selangor and a consortium of financiers led by Bank Muamalat.
Please read Selangor Royal Default?, yesterday's posting by A Voice.
In 2006, Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) awarded a privatisation contract to built, operate and transfer (BOT) 3 blocks of hostels to Redha Resources (Redha). The hostels are to be rented out to students of Kolej Ugama Islam Selangor (KUIS), a higher learning institution established under MAIS. The BOT contract is for 33 years.
Redha raise financing and they did raised RM125 million from a consortium of Banks with Bank Muaamalat as facilitating agent.The hostels were constructed, and Redha managed and operated the hostels. KUIS passed the rental collected from students.In turn, MAIS gave a payment guarantee to the Banks. They agreed to top-up any shortfall in the event the rooms are not taken up. However, they do not need as it is 100% full. Good investment for MAIS.This problem had Certificate of Fitness (CF) as point of dispute or excuse of non payment.To justify not paying, MAIS officials threw the Sultan's name as though there were a royal decree not to pay. A royal decree would have justified cause but thus far, this one had none and is in contravention with fair practises of commerce.
Did someone drop the Sultan's name? I don't know. The blogger A Voice clearly did not know, either, which is why he wrote:
"One have heard of name throwing of the Prime Minister's wife, but when checked, it turned out to be untrue. Can it be checked when the name thrown is a Sultan?"
The Mole did what it does. It checked with the relevant body and came up with MAIS denies blogger's allegations but gives no details.
“I cannot pinpoint which part of the blog is untrue but all I can say is that the claims are not entirely true,” said a Mais corporate communications officer who didn’t want to be identified.
Not entirely true? I, for one, am willing to wait to find out how this pans out. For now, the part of the posting that is clearly true is: the banks that lent out money some RM125 million for the construction of a MAIS project are NOT being paid the money owed to it, long after the project has been completed.
Whether or not somebody did drop the Sultan's name is hard to prove, unless it was actually said in court of in chamber. And in the bigger scheme of things, it is secondary. Because MAIS is a state religious institution and therefore comes under the direct purview of the Sultan, anyway.
p.s. Incidentally, the bank (not Muamalat) called me up yesterday and kindly informed me that I had yet to pay the car's instalment for February. It was a technical glitch, really, but I felt so guilty the whole day. I have been taught that if I owe money (or anything at all), I ought to pay it back as promised. It is a sin, otherwise.