KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian king told lawmakers on Monday (May 18) not to drag the country into another bout of political uncertainty, as the Lower House convened for the first time since Perikatan Nasional took over as federal government.
Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah said in his royal address that differences in opinion among the Members of Parliament (MPs) should not end in enmity and personal attacks.
“Instead, these differences should serve as a base to spark new ideas to develop and unite the country, not the reverse,” he said.
“I wish to advise, do not drag the country again into political uncertainty, when the citizens are already facing various problems and a difficult future due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the king added.
The Monday sitting, which marks the opening of the third session of the 14th parliament, only featured the king's speech.
No motions, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad's proposed vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, were tabled. Mr Muhyiddin had earlier taken over the government's top post from Dr Mahathir, following the latter's resignation.
The government had said that the meeting agenda was changed because the spread of COVID-19 has not abated fully.
Social distancing measures were observed on Monday, with MPs as well as senators from the Upper House wearing masks during the sitting.
A glimpse of the Malaysian opposition's front showed Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim seated as opposition leader facing Mr Muhyiddin, followed by Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
At the beginning of his speech, the king noted that he had advised Dr Mahathir not to resign as the prime minister back in February.
“But he was firm in his decision, and despite my sadness, I had to accept it,” he said.
“Each contest has its end, the political turbulence could not be allowed to continue without end. After going through all processes and in line with the Federal Constitution, I found Muhyiddin Yassin commanded the confidence of the majority of MPs,” he said.
READ: One-day parliament sitting with no motions a possible sign of Muhyiddin not commanding the majority, says Anwar
The king added that he had discharged his duties transparently and fairly, in line with the concepts of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.
In his speech, the king advised that MPs should not touch on sensitive matters of religion and race, or the sovereignty and position of the Malay rulers.
He also paid tribute to the frontliners combating COVID-19 and invited all present to rise and applause as a gesture of appreciation.