KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah today expressed regret that the country still faces racial polarisation, as he delivered his speech to open the first session of Parliament following the change in government.
He began by recalling the days leading up to Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) collapse and the political crisis that saw the emergence of the Perikatan Nasional alliance backing Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.
He said he had exercised his constitutional power, adding that crises should not be allowed to continue.
He also said politicians should not touch on racial sensitivities, including those pertaining to the Malay rulers.
“I advise you not to drag the country into a political abyss of uncertainty at a time when the people continue facing many problems as well as a difficult future brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He said this was also why the Dewan Rakyat had decided to hold only the current session with the single agenda of delivering the royal address.
The Dewan Rakyat was initially scheduled to sit for 15 days from today after being postponed from March 9 following the change in government.
Sultan Abdullah said he had asked Dr Mahathir Mohamad not to resign as prime minister, but that the latter had stood firm.
“With a heavy heart, I had to follow his decision,” he said, adding that he had been constitutionally required to appoint a new prime minister after that.
He said he had met with all the MPs from Feb 25 to 26 to evaluate their support, and that he had instructed them on Feb 29 to name their choice of candidate for prime minister.
He said he had also given an extension of time on the request of several political party leaders to ensure that they would have enough time to put forth their choice of candidate.
“After undergoing all the processes in line with the Federal Constitution, I found that Muhyiddin had the majority of support,” he said, thanking the MPs and the people for playing their roles in allowing the process to take place.
He also told MPs that any differences in opinion should be seen as a catalyst for developing ideas to unite the country, saying such differences should not end in hostility and slander.
On the national unity plan, he said it should be implemented based on the principles of the Rukun Negara.
He said the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution would continue to be protected, as would the rights of others to practise their religious beliefs.
Sultan Abdullah also said the country had never before faced challenges such as the ones brought on by the virus pandemic, including economic challenges and those related to the movement control order and bringing home Malaysians from overseas.
He urged employers not to retrench their workers, voicing hope that the RM250 billion stimulus package would reach all.
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