Lawyers say Pahang’s rule on allegiance to rulers may not work

Lawyers SN Nair and Latheefa Koya.

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer today said the Pahang government had the right to impose conditions on business licences, including an eyebrow-raising requirement to have business owners pledge allegiance to the sultan.

Lawyer SN Nair said the effectiveness of such a move is yet to be known since businesses are usually not the ones disrespecting Malay rulers.

Earlier today, Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said those applying for permits and licences from local governments must pledge their “respect and loyalty” at all times to the Pahang sultan and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as part of the consideration for it to be approved.

“I don’t know how effective this will be as historically businesses have not been in the spotlight for disrespecting the rulers.

“It has mostly and inevitably been individuals who have done so and the Sedition Act has been invoked.

“Perhaps the Pahang government has good reasons for its decision.

“It would be a good policy to explain to businesses their reasons for a better understanding,” Nair told FMT.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya said the imposition of such conditions was not the right way to demand loyalty or respect for the rulers.

She said the move creates the perception that sanctions are required to get people to have some respect for the royalty.

At the Pahang state assembly today, Rosdy said the new allegiance pledge was effective immediately and would include existing business licence or permit holders. If they do not, their licences would be revoked, he said.

According to The Star Online, he said the move was “an effective preventive measure” to curb increasing contempt against the royalty.

Pahang regent Tengku Mahkota Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Ibni Al-Sultan Abdullah had recently expressed concern over insults against the royal institution and Islam.