National News

A King for our time – by Terence Fernandez

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OUR Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, is a Monarch who endears himself to the people. This is not by design. It is just the person that he is.

Following in his late father Sultan Ahmad Shah’s footsteps, His Majesty is as comfortable sitting on the throne in the Bilik Mengadap of the Palace as he is at a roadside roti canai stall in Pekan.

As the president of the Football Associaton of Malaysia (FAM) and then of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), among others, he is well in tune with the rakyat’s passions, be it on or off the pitch.

Which is why Sultan Abdullah is probably the ruler we need during these trying times. His Majesty can be the bridge between the rakyat and the ruling elite, as well as a credible sounding board for some of his fellow brother rulers in articulating the pulse of the nation and communicating the will and concerns of the people.

With the nation in unprecedented limbo over a looming health / economic emergency to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, His Majesty is looked upon to ensure that those who govern are calling for this emergency out of sincere concern for the nation and that the pending emergency declaration is not an opportunity for unelected politicians to hold on to power for as long as they can.

Surely His Majesty who is non-partisan will exercise his judgment in acceding to the emergency request by the government – that is, is it needed or is there a hidden agenda?

Surely His Majesty is aware that the coalition that serves His Majesty’s government is an unelected one that does not have the people’s mandate to govern. The coalition that the people voted for in 2018 is the legitimate government which was ousted by political scheming earlier this year.

Hence, for an unelected and morally compromised administration to suspend Parliament and rule by force, fear and confusion is unacceptable and threatens to relegate us to a pariah state akin to oppressive regimes, where we will take years to recover – economically and socially.

The whole country at this moment is in a state of panic. People are rushing home, supermarkets are seeing long lines, restaurant and hotel bookings are being cancelled, and our phones have been ringing since noon from members of the public seeking clarity.

That the people are put in this position of fear and confusion at this early stage with not a squeak out of Putrajaya is a testament to the incompetence and lack of care of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration.

That the spread of the pandemic in its third wave was caused by returning politicians from Sabah and the confusing SOPs that are being issued every day is a damning indictment on this government’s inability to care for the people during this time of national crisis.

With the pandemic largely loose in Sabah with 528 new infections, while states like Kelantan are virtually zero, it begs the question: why an emergency and not a conditional movement control order (CMCO)?

With the Budget due on Nov 6, how can the country’s fiscal management for the following year be discussed?

That the timing of the emergency request comes three weeks after the announcement of the opposition leader that Muhyiddin’s government has lost its majority support is suspicious.

These are the questions that the King, one suspects, would have asked the prime minister. Because the King’s first duty is to the people, not politicians, and we are assured that we have a no-nonsense Monarch who is conscious of his role within the constitution. The Federal Constitution is always spotted in pictures of the King with the prime minister at their weekly Wednesday audience.

It is with this in mind that we the rakyat implore His Majesty not to allow politicians with vested interests to hijack our constitution and our democracy.

We believe His Majesty will do the right thing.

Ampun Tuanku!

Terence Fernandez is managing editor of The Vibes

This article first appeared on TheVibes.

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