Vacancy: A good govt to match a good king of the people

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has taken on his responsibilities with a smile and a friendly approach.

It is refreshing to see that Istana Negara, built at a cost of RM1 billion, is being put to good use for the sake of the nation.

It is also good to see Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah breaking royal protocol to engage with the public.

The sight of the King appearing outside the palace gates to distribute meals from popular fast food franchises is not a surprise: the former Pahang crown prince has proven to be one of the most people-friendly kings Malaysians have ever had.

Even closet republicans, who feel that our constitutional monarchy system is a relic of the past, would agree that Sultan Abdullah has cleverly stayed above the soul-destroying gossip that surrounds royalty, some albeit deservedly.

The full glare of publicity is thrown instead on the political vacuum in Putrajaya which has given royalty a chance to live up to the heavy responsibility that the constitution places on their shoulders.

At the palace gates today, more tinted MPVs, or in humbler cases, more chartered buses, will unload political figures turning up for their part in the drama now unfolding.

On a facetious note, this parade of politicians could be regarded as our equivalent of the red carpet at the Oscars ceremony, minus the exposed cleavages and pretentious couples kissing for the camera.

Even without Hollywood glitter and good looks, our politicians are just as eager – metaphorically of course – to “kiss” and “make eyes” at each other, in public or in private, in hope of finding common ground by which they can cohabit, perhaps in an alliance or perhaps even in power.

On that score, we can rely on a people-friendly, smiling Agong who has at the same time taken a serious approach to his constitutional responsibilities.

Malaysians now hope his efforts will result in a similarly people-friendly government, one that can match and complement Sultan Abdullah’s smiles and seriousness.

Abdar Rahman Koya is editor-in-chief of FMT.