‘I am the only King to reign with four PMs, four different Cabinets’

KUALA LUMPUR: The most unforgettable and challenging episode in the reign of 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was the political turmoil that began in 2020.

The King said he has gone through many incidents and experiences which he would never forget during his reign, in particular, when the nation faces a political crisis.

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“Etched in the nation’s history, I’m the only King who reigned with four prime ministers and four different Cabinets,” said Al-Sultan Abdullah during his speech while officiating the 15th Parliament on Monday (Feb 13) morning.

MPs were subsequently heard thumping on their desks.

Al-Sultan Abdullah said it began with the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the seventh prime minister on Feb 24, 2020.

“In line with the discretionary powers conferred to the King under the Federal Constitution, I found that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had secured the majority support to be appointed as the eighth prime minister on March 1, 2020,” said the King.

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The King said he assumed the political hiccup had been weathered, but instead, Muhyiddin eventually resigned on Aug 16, 2021.

“This means that I was once again forced to bear the heavy burden of choosing and appointing a new prime minister,” said the King.

While the King was relating his experiences, Muhyiddin was seen looking down while former premier Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was seen smiling.

Al-Sultan Abdullah said he subsequently appointed Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the ninth prime minister on Aug 21, 2021, after the Bera MP obtained a majority of parliamentary support.

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Soon after which, the King said Ismail Sabri requested his consent to dissolve Parliament for the 15th General Election (GE15) on Oct 10.

“After the GE15 concluded, for the first time in Malaysia’s democratic history, the country was faced with a hung parliament situation.

“Once again, I had taken on the heavy task of choosing and appointing another prime minister,” said the King.

As no parties had a clear majority to form the government after GE15 last year, Al-Sultan Abdullah said he had given ample room for elected MPs to work together and find a consensus based on the principles of unity for the future of the country.

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“Based on the Federal Constitution, on Nov 24 last year, I consented to the appointment of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the tenth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

“I hope that the tenth Prime Minister will be the last for me, before I return to Pahang Darul Makmur,” Al-Sultan Abdullah said, referring to the end of his term as King on Jan 30, 2024.

Al-Sultan Abdullah said he had no intention of interfering in national politics and he was merely carrying out his duties as King.

“If the episodes leading to the resignation of the seventh prime minister did not happen, I believe that the political turmoil that lasted till GE15 could’ve been avoided.

“More importantly, the political crisis that plagued the country for nearly four years could’ve been avoided if elected representatives and politicians were ready to set aside their differences and unite for the people and the country we loved,” said the King.

The King said that Malaysia, as a nation with 66 years of Independence, had accepted diversity as its main strength.

“If diversity, plurality and political uncertainty continues to be a cause of conflict and disunity, I’m concerned that peace and desired development will not last forever,” said the King.

Al Sultan Abdullah said on Jan 30 next year, his reign as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong will come to an end.

“This means that this will be the last time that I will be attending the opening ceremony of Parliament and decree in this House,” said the King.

Meanwhile, in his speech, the King paid tribute to the unwavering loyalty of the civil service, the army, the police, health workers, and all government agencies.

“Thank you to all Malaysians who have lived peacefully and remained steadfast in facing various challenges of the pandemic, economic stagnation and the political crisis that happened in the country,” the King added.

The King also advised elected representatives to uphold the dignity and sanctity of Parliament.

“Serve sincerely as elected representatives who always place the interest of the people and the future of the country in your hearts,” the King said.

The 15th Parliament, that begins Monday (Feb 13), will sit until March 30 this year.