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Daulat Tuanku! King, Malay Rulers rise to the occasion

The King and the Malay Rulers - in saying the vaccination process should be hastened, the Emergency should end on Aug 1, and Parliament should be reconvened - have shown they stand with the people.

17/6/2021 3:02:00 AM

The King and the Malay Rulers - in saying the vaccination process should be hastened, the Emergency should end on Aug 1, and Parliament should be reconvened - have shown they stand with the people. FMTNews MalayRulers Covid19 Parliament Democracy

The King and the Malay Rulers - in saying the vaccination process should be hastened, the Emergency should end on Aug 1, and Parliament should be reconvened - have shown they stand with the people.

-June 17, 2021 8:00 AMIn my June 15 column, I said suffering Malaysians were looking up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and the Malay Rulers for some sort of direction for the nation, if not an end to their troubles.I said most Malaysians wanted Parliament to be allowed to reconvene as soon as possible and for an end to the Emergency which was imposed on Jan 12 and is scheduled to end on Aug 1.

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Yesterday, the King and the Malay Rulers expressed their wish to see Parliament reconvened “as soon as possible”. They also said there was no need for the Emergency to be extended beyond Aug 1.In an unprecedented move, the King called 18 leaders of political parties, the chairman of the Independent Special Committee on the Emergency and top government officials over the past week to find out the actual situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the efforts of the government to control it.

Yesterday, he met with his fellow Malay Rulers to discuss the situation and to brief them on the views of those who had had an audience with him.The meeting and their stand is historic.Two statements were issued following this meeting: one by Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin and the other by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.

Fadil said the King, after considering the views of those whom he had met, felt Parliament should be reconvened as soon as possible. This is to enable MPs to debate the Emergency Ordinances and the National Recovery Plan of the government.He said: “His Majesty is very aware of the role of Parliament as an important platform for elected representatives to meet and discuss various issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of the Dewan Rakyat can also discuss the government’s monetary allocations to help the rakyat who are facing hardship and to revive the national economy.”

The King also urged for the acceleration of the vaccination process to ensure 80% of the population is vaccinated and herd immunity attained.Importantly, the King said a strong and stable government that could function effectively in battling the pandemic and revive the economy was needed. This is exactly what many Malaysians have been saying.

The King thanked the Malay Rulers, the frontliners and the people who are working hard to fight the pandemic.Malaysians, especially analysts and politicians, will surely pick on the fact that there was no mention of the government in the list of people and groups thanked by the King in the statement. I believe this will evoke animated discussions on social media and elsewhere.

The King has demonstrated leadership and management ability in consulting important individuals and listening to various views and then sitting with his fellow Malay Rulers to seek a way out of the health, economic and political morass the nation is in.

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This in itself is a sign of democracy at work, even though he is the monarch.The statement from Syed Danial on behalf of the King and Malay Rulers imparts their concern over the suffering of the people. The Rulers emphasize that the lives and livelihoods of the people are of paramount importance.

Among other things, the statement said, they expressed concern about rising Covid-19 numbers, the troubling state of the economy, the unstable political situation and divisions among the people. They were also concerned that people could not fufill their religious obligations properly at mosques and houses of worship.

This statement also called for bureaucratic impediments to be loosened and for the vaccination process to be hastened.In calling for political tensions to be reduced, the Malay Rulers too said there was a need for a stable government that had the confidence and support of the majority of the people.

This too, I’m sure, will be a matter of heated debate on social media and elsewhere. What are the Rulers saying exactly, many will ask and offer their own answers. This idea – repeated in both statements – will give rise to endless discussion over the next few weeks at least.

Very importantly, this statement said the Malay Rulers saw no reason for the Emergency to continue after its scheduled ending on Aug 1.Opposition politicians and informed Malaysians who are against the Emergency will surely jump for joy over this statement. This is what many people have been urging for these past months.

The Malay Rulers agreed with the King that Parliament should be reconvened. The statement said they felt it was important to respect the check and balance provided by the executive, judiciary and legislature to ensure a transparent and accountable administration with high integrity, particularly in matters of finance.

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The Malay Rulers also said they’d like to see state assemblies in their own states reconvene as soon as possible.But the King and Rulers can only express their views as far as the current situation is concerned. According to lawyers, the Constitution says it is the prime minister who advises the King on whether to declare or end an Emergency and when to convene Parliament.

I believe the government of Muhyiddin Yassin will not disregard the views of the King and his fellow Malay Rulers because the monarchy is a respected institution in Malaysia and carries much moral authority.But whatever happens next, the people will be happy to know that their King and the Rulers of the various states feel for them and stand with them. They will also know that the King and the Malay Rulers respect the democratic process.

Daulat Tuanku! The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT. Read more: Free Malaysia Today »

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