PETALING JAYA: Malaysians today took to social media to rally around Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah after a suggestion by a British daily that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had orchestrated a “royal coup” to bring down the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
They said the Agong had been faithful to the constitution, pointing to the series of royal audiences granted by Sultan Abdullah to 222 MPs as well as meetings with leaders of political blocs before he named Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister last weekend.
Many commented on Facebook responding to FMT’s report on the editorial published by The Guardian, which slammed the Agong’s decision as against democratic principles.
Eric Kew said the Agong had only acted after talking to MPs about their preferred candidate to lead the next government.
“If MPs changed their allegiance after the meeting, it’s not the Agong’s fault. The Agong can’t delay his decision continuously while MPs keep changing their minds. The matter needs to be resolved by Parliament.
“Agong’s done his job,” he said.
Thinesh Rajasingam said while he did not agree with the new political leadership, there was no blame on Sultan Abdullah.
“The editorial is dead wrong and obviously biased,” he wrote. “Of course the new government is going to take Malaysia backwards generally. But the Agong is blameless. He exercised his constitutional role diligently, went out of his way to be unbiased and made a reasonable decision.”
He also blamed what he called “ridiculous chaos” within PH, adding that Malaysian laws provide parliamentary avenues to reverse such decisions in the event of a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat.
The Guardian in an editorial said the king had “overturned a democratic election result that challenged a corrupt old order”.
“This is wrong and the world ought to call it out,” it said.
The paper also argued against a snap election, saying it would create “a vacuum for nationalist or religious demagogues to fill”. It did not explain what it meant.
On Feb 29, Sultan Abdullah named Muhyiddin as the person “likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the (lower) House”, using the phrase in Article 40 of the constitution.
Some Facebook users questioned if the Guardian’s editorial had hidden hands behind it while others dismissed the claim of a “royal coup” as far-fetched.
“If Agong really wants to launch a coup, he doesn’t need to tire himself to call all the MPs for a decision. He just simply orders a military coup like our northern neighbour,” said Muhammad Tarreq Ziad, referring to the recent coup in Thailand.
A recurrent theme of their criticism was that the Agong had carefully assessed MPs’ views before arriving at a decision.
“No la. Agong is not the one but someone within the party caused the government to collapse,” said Anthony Sumin.
Soon Soo Hain wrote: “All this happened due to our politicians; it has nothing to with the king!”
“Agong was fantastic and fair. Get your facts right!” said Sanjeev Raj, who was among hundreds of users who flocked to FMT’s Facebook page.
The Guardian editorial also drew criticism from PPBM Supreme Council member Rais Hussin.
He said the article was an example of “foreign opinion makers” who “stretch the facts to suit their perspectives”.
“The King did not overturn any election. Instead, he painstakingly interviewed all MPs until he was satisfied that a government could be formed, and decided swiftly to restore stability to the country. All this was within his constitutional authority to do,” Rais wrote.