KUALA LUMPUR (June 11): Several more political party leaders turned up at Istana Negara here as Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s series of audiences with leaders entered its third day today.
Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was the first to make his way to the palace today, arriving at 9.55am and leaving at 11am.
Ahmad Zahid, speaking to reporters outside the palace gates, said his discussion with Al-Sultan Abdullah revolved around several matters concerning the people’s interests.
The Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament said among others, he conveyed Umno’s stand that the state of emergency should not be extended beyond Aug 1 and instead issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic can be better managed if the emergency is lifted.
He said the people are generally worried and anxious about the pandemic as it has affected their incomes and livelihoods.
“Umno’s stand is that Parliament should meet to protect the country’s system of democracy and to provide for accountability and checks and balances in all aspects of the country’s administration.
“Umno is of the view that Parliament is an important official platform for voicing out the people’s concerns and interests,” Ahmad Zahid said.
Asked about former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s proposal for the setting up of the National Operations Council (NOC), he said this matter was not discussed during his audience.
MIC president Tan Sri S A Vigneswaran also went for an audience with the King, entering the palace at 10.45am and leaving almost one hour later, without stopping to speak to reporters.
Leaders of political parties including from the opposition have been summoned for audiences with His Majesty from Wednesday. Leaders from Sarawak are scheduled to have a virtual audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah on June 14.
So far, 10 leaders have been granted audiences by Al-Sultan Abdullah.
Later this afternoon, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is also the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak affairs), was seen entering Istana Negara at about 2.15pm and leaving at 3.24pm.
Two days ago, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the first leader to go to the palace for his weekly audience to brief the King on developments regarding the country's administration.
Later that day, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the PKR president, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu) were also granted separate audiences by Al-Sultan Abdullah.
Yesterday, PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is the environment and water minister, represented PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang for an audience with the King. MCA president and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong was also granted an audience by His Majesty.
They were followed by Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pejuang Tanah Air's pro tem chairman, and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.