Monarchy at our nation's foundations

Monarchy at our nation’s foundations

The title of this session — monarchy as the nation’s pasak (a word that literally means “peg” or in architecture “fastener”, but more broadly connotes “foundations”) — reminds me of Istana Lama Seri Menanti, a palace famously constructed without nails. Physics tells us that without them, buildings would collapse. But unlike nails, pegs are made from the same material as the structure, recalling the saying “raja dan rakyat berpisah tiada” (inseparable are the ruler and people). In the past, Rajas reigned and ruled; their executive decisions affected the lives of their rakyat. But the allegedly absolutist nature of this rule is often exaggerated (and it certainly wasn’t “feudal” in the medieval European sense as so many lazily label).