King tells politicians not to ‘gamble’ with nation’s future for self-interest

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah delivers the royal address during the opening of the first meeting of the fourth term of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 13, 2021. — Bernama pic
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah delivers the royal address during the opening of the first meeting of the fourth term of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 13, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah told the country’s elected representatives today not “to gamble with the future of my nation” for political self-interest, delivering a royal address that reminded politicians to honour their sworn duty to put the people first.

Prior to today’s Parliament sitting, the Agong repeated his frustration with the incessant political strife that had taken place throughout a pandemic, which has spanned nearly two years, as he appealed for the warring factions to reach a truce and focus more on putting the country back on the recovery path.

The King said Malaysians have suffered enough, citing the letters he received that “conveyed a thousand hopes” from the common people seeking “the ray of change” so normal life could resume after the country descended into a crisis wrought by a coronavirus.

“My advice to all honourable members: do not ever gamble with the future of my nation to pursue your agenda,” he said.

“Hence I appeal to all honourable members to put focus back on efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic so we can return the light to my people.”

The Fourth Term of the 14th Parliament convened today after months of delay caused by the Emergency declared on the advice of then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who has since resigned after 11 Umno members of parliament withdrew support for his administration.

The last Lower House proceeding, the final meeting of its third term, took place in December last year.

Sultan Abdullah had played a crucial role to enable Parliament to reconvene. In several previous statements, he had repeatedly asked for Parliament to sit so lawmakers could debate the government’s pandemic response.

Today, the Agong repeated his appeal for bipartisan support towards efforts to revive an ailing economy and fight the pandemic.

Throughout the royal address, he emphasised on the need to channel resources to help the people and businesses, and advised the government to spend “appropriately” on healthcare, aid and support to get businesses back open.

The Agong then thanked both sides of the Lower House for their willingness to cooperate and put an end to the political bloodletting. In doing so, he said members of the House had practiced “constructive democracy” and bipartisanship that the public had long called for.

“I welcome and value highly the efforts towards realising a new bipartisan approach among all parties, which will soon shape a new political landscape and bring with it changes to the country’s administrative system,” he said.

“Heed this old Malay advice for those who won shall not win all, and those who lost shall not lose all.”

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is scheduled to sign a historic memorandum of understanding with Pakatan Harapan this evening in which both benches will collaborate and support various institutional reform bills that are expected to be tabled in this session.

The new government led by Ismail Sabri is also expected to receive bipartisan support to raise the statutory debt ceiling, likely to 65 per cent of gross domestic product.

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