KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — An alleged thrashing of a member of Malaysia's royal household and his friends by the grandson of the Sultan of Johor and his bodyguards last week looks set to renew debate over the indiscretions of the royalty and whether they are immune from prosecution.
Tunku Nadzimuddin Tunku Mudzaffar, the son of the eldest princess of the Negri Sembilan royal household, filed a police report over the weekend that he was hit with the butt of a pistol on his head and face by a grandson of the Sultan of Johor.
The alleged offender was identified only as Tengku Ismail, and his father is one of the Sultan's sons.
The scuffle allegedly took place at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Saturday and Tunku Nadzimuddin suffered a fractured nose.
A friend of the Negri Sembilan royal family, Shamshuddhuha Ishak, also filed a police report that he was beaten by the bodyguards of the Johor royal family member and lost consciousness and a front tooth, according to people close to the situation and familiar with the police report.
The alleged beatings took place following an altercation between groups from the two royal households at a popular nightclub in Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Saturday.
There has been little publicity in the local newspapers over the incident. Sources close to the Negri Sembilan household said that there is intense lobbying to get Tunku Nadzimuddin and his friends to withdraw the police report.
A close source to the Negri Sembilan royal household said that the family wants the police to investigate the alleged beatings and bring charges against the assailants.
The police have yet to comment on the alleged incident but a senior government official told The Straits Times that investigations are ongoing and that several suspects are expected to be called up for questioning soon.
Allegations of indiscretions by members of Malaysia's royal households are not unheard of.
In the early 1990s, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pushed through sweeping constitutional amendments that removed provisions granting the royalty immunity from prosecution.
Under the country's Constitution, the country's nine sultans, who take turns to serve as king under a unique rotation system, are above prosecution in the ordinary courts of the land and can be tried only by a special court.
Royal personages below the level of sultan are not protected from prosecution under the country's laws.
Lawyers and political analysts say the latest incident involving the royal households of Negri Sembilan and Johor is likely to be watched closely and will be a test of the government's determination to bring the country's royalty to legal parity with commoners.
Several people familiar with the alleged beatings on Saturday say that friends of the grandsons from the Johor and Negri Sembilan royal households were in separate groups at a nightclub in the heart of Kuala Lumpur on Friday night.
Just after midnight, an altercation broke out between the two groups but the matter was resolved by the nightclub's bouncers.
According to people close to Tunku Nadzimuddin, the 36-year-old prince from Negri Sembilan, received a call requesting him to show up at a hotel in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's financial district to meet the prince from the Johor royal household.
When Tunku Nadzimuddin arrived at the hotel, he and his friends were confronted by the Johor prince and his bodyguards before they were assaulted, people close to the Negri Sembilan prince alleged — Singapore Straits Times
Royalty reputation took a beating when in 1993 the government amended the constitution to remove full immunity for royals and said royals can only be charged in a special court. But it actually all started with the late Douglas Gomez affair where the Sultan of Johor assaulted Gomez and I was told that apparently Tunku Majid (the incumbent MHF deputy president who lost in the association election) joined the fray. If you recall, Tunku Majid was banned after he assaulted the Perak goalkeeper in the Sukma 1992 final. That is believed to led to the sudden decision by the state education department to order the Bandar Penawar sports school to walk-out of the MSSM semi-final tournament.
One significant moment of special court acting against royalties happened recently when Negeri Sembilan's Tuanku Jaafar was ordered to pay $1 million USD owed to Standard Chartered Bank.
I remembered Edmund jokingly mentioned last monday that Sultan Mahmood Iskandar 'had limb movement' - perhaps it could be the answer to my question of why Tunku Ibrahim Ismail represented for the state in ruler meetings - problems maybe because too used to assaulting people. Johor royalty isn't the only state royalty that is involved in such criminal activities - other states do, but I do not remember most of it.
Some people did say that the new generation of royalty, particularly Raja Dr. Nazrin can be good royal models, being educated well that I think they could attone the sins of the older generation. But with the latest case above of a 'spoiled adult' surrounded by his bodyguards assaulting a person and calling himself a royalty, I could think of public opinion might suddenly swing back to the opinion of royalties before the early 90s.
One act of vanity and arrogance by royals could makes things go back to square one.