Sultan Azlan Shah said the perpetuation of the institution of monarchy was not only to the extent of fulfilling historical values and sentimental values of the people.
The ruler had a role to ensure the effectiveness of the check-and-balance mechanism which could help strengthen the institution of democracy, he said.
"As the head of state, the ruler serves as the pillar of stability, source of justice, core of solidarity and umbrella of unity. Implicitly, the perpetuation of the institution of monarchy is the continued retention of the identity of a government buttressed by the Malays.
"The role, duties and responsibilities of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as well as those of the Malay Rulers are based on the concept of the constitutional monarchy," he said.
This meant that the rulers had sovereign power and responsibility in accordance with the law and that a ruler was a ruler, whether it was in absolute or constitutional terms, he said.
Sultan Azlan Shah said the difference between them was that one had unlimited power while the other's power was in accordance with the constitution, but it was a mistake to assume that the power of a ruler was similar to that of a president who was bound by the constitution.
"The role of a ruler far exceeded that expressed in the constitution," he said.
Disclaimer: I don't know nearly enough about Malaysia to know if he's at all living up to his fine words here.
There's a good review of a new biography of French revolutionary Georges-Jacques Danton here.
ASEAN HUMAN RIGHTS Body 'A necessary start'
A journalist from Indonesia put Thailand's lese-majeste law into the context of Asean human rights by asking Kasit what the commission would do about the criticism of the Thai monarchy.
Kasit said Thailand has a constitutional-monarchy system that keeps the monarchy and especially the personality of His Majesty the King above politics.
"Don't mix it up, there are certain quarters in society that would like to bring the institution of the monarchy down into the political fight inside Thailand," he said.
"The royal institution and HM the King have no protection when they're being attacked. We have to have a law to protect the institution. The lese-majeste law is simply there to protect the institution of monarchy because they cannot protect themselves. The King cannot go to court," he said.
"What we have in Thailand is similar to what a lot of countries have with the institution of monarchy," he added.