KUALA LUMPUR (May 18): Malaysian lawmakers were reminded by the King today to engage in mature politics in a time of global crisis as the country battles to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The first meeting of the third term of the 14th Parliament session convened this morning, with the royal address for the opening of Parliament sitting delivered by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
In his address, the King advised members of parliament against dragging the country once again into political turmoil after the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government in February.
“Do not revert the country to a situation of political turmoil while the people are still [facing] various problems and a difficult future due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, unity and harmony begin in this august house. We are confident that the people will continue to be united and collaborate in developing the nation if they are not baited with the flames of hostility and disunity. Therefore, conduct your debates in a responsible manner and always display a positive political maturity which the people can emulate,” said the King.
He said as leaders, Honourable Members have to be exemplary in instilling positive values in the people.
He said differences in opinions should not lead to hostility and slander. Instead, differences of opinion should be the platform for promoting new ideas to develop and unify the country.
“Honourable Members should always display maturity in politics. This includes voicing the needs and aspirations of the people, protecting their well-being, adhering to the principles of justice, promoting a clean political culture, and not impinging on issues of race or religion as well as on the sovereignty and position of the Malay Rulers,” he said.
He added that any plans and programmes aimed at achieving a stable and prosperous developed country will not be successful if the country continues to be plagued by corruption.
“Thus, the implementation of development programmes based on integrity and good governance is essential to achieve sustainable economic growth for the betterment of the people and the nation. We urge the government to remain committed to its implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, the King said when former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad offered his resignation on Feb 24, he asked the former premier to reconsider. However, Dr Mahathir was firm with his decision.
“As such, We had the responsibility of appointing a new Prime Minister as stipulated in the Federal Constitution. Article 43 states that We have the discretion to appoint a Member of the House of Representatives who in Our judgement commands the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Representatives," the King said.
Al-Sultan Abdullah said he personally interviewed individual members of the House of Representatives to ascertain their positions.
On Feb 29, he requested all political parties with members in the House of Representatives to nominate a member among them as the next prime minister.
“Without doubt, all competitions must be concluded. The political turmoil afflicting a country cannot be allowed to continue and fester indefinitely. Therefore, after going through all these processes and in accordance with the Federal Constitution, We concluded that the Right Honourable Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Haji Yassin has gained the confidence from the majority of the House of Representatives and, with that, was thus appointed the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia,” he said.
The royal address is the only item on the agenda for the one-day Parliament session. The second meeting will convene on July 13.
Before today’s schedule was amended, the sitting could have involved a motion of no confidence being tabled by Dr Mahathir against Muhyiddin, after the former was granted permission by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.
It would have been the first time in Malaysia that a vote against a sitting prime minister would be carried out.