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Malaysian king meets party leaders, COVID-19 crisis top on the agenda

Malaysian king meets party leaders, COVID-19 crisis top on the agenda

Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (right) grants an audience to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Jun 9, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Istana Negara)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah met several key political leaders including Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (Jun 9).

Mr Muhyiddin was the first leader to have an audience with the king when he arrived at Istana Negara at 7.50am and left the palace about an hour later.

In a Facebook post, the palace said: "The pre-Cabinet meeting is among the weekly activities or main routine of Al-Sultan Abdullah to discuss and exchange views with the prime minister on government affairs and issues."  

Other political leaders have also been granted a meeting with the king on Wednesday including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Anwar who arrived at the palace at 10.37am also spent about an hour with the king.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Anwar who is also the leader of the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition said that he had pleaded to the king against the continuation of the state of emergency in Malaysia.

READ: Anwar says he pleaded with Malaysian king against extending state of emergency, new government not discussed

He said any continuation of the emergency expected to end by Aug 1, will not help the country in its fight against COVID-19, but instead will affect the economy and the people especially low-income Malaysians.

In the afternoon, another two opposition leaders, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also had their separate meetings with the king.

In his meeting with the king, Mr Mohamad Sabu said he had appealed to the ruler to reconvene parliament so members can discuss the government’s programmes in addressing the COVID-19 crisis. 

Mr Lim told reporters that the COVID-19 crisis was also discussed in his meeting with the king and its economic impacts on Malaysians.

READ: Commentary - Malaysia's government rests on an uneasy pact

Other political leaders including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is the chairman of Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, are expected to meet the king on Thursday.

Parti Islam Se-Malaysia confirmed that its president Abdul Hadi Awang had received the invitation letter on Jun 4, while Malaysia’s largest political party, UMNO, has yet to confirm whether it received the invitation for the meeting with the king.

In January, the king had declared a state of emergency across the nation to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is set to end on Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of the pandemic. 

The state of emergency has put parliamentary sitting and state assemblies as well as elections on hold, while economic activities were allowed to continue. 

READ: Parents in Malaysia fret over academic progress amid prolonged school closure, online learning

Opposition MPs and activists set up a Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration in March and launched a petition to appeal for an end to the state of emergency. 

Mr Muhyiddin, who is under pressure from the opposition parties as well as coalition partners to prove the parliamentary support he commands, has reiterated that he would advise the king to dissolve parliament once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. 

Malaysia is currently under renewed movement restrictions as record high daily new infections and deaths were recorded. 

Source: CNA/tx

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