Don’t run away, Agong tells MPs

By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

“Please be seated, and don’t run away.” This was the first line uttered by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V when he was about to take his seat before opening the 14th Parliament sittings yesterday.

The statement took all the MPs by surprise as laughter ensued, providing a light moment for both divides at the Dewan Rakyat.

The Dewan Rakyat will sit for 20 days beginning Tuesday until Aug 16 (Pic by Muhd Amin Naharul/TMR)

Sultan Muhammad V was also seen laughing, as the king looked to his left towards the new Opposition bloc’s area. The Opposition pact is led by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Sultan Muhammad V was obviously taking a jibe at the Opposition parties that staged a walkout on Monday during the swearing-in ceremony of all elected representatives.

The walkout, led by PAS and Umno, was in protest of the appointment of the new Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

In his royal address, Sultan Muhammad V urged all parties to respect and accept the results of the 14th General Election (GE14) in May.

“The people have chosen. Therefore, all parties should accept and respect the results of the GE14 without being emotional, narrow-minded or having prejudicial and slanderous thoughts that are influenced by sensationalisation and speculation,” the Agong said.

He expressed hope that all parties will work together in striving towards a genuine and pure unity, as well as finding solutions for the good and survival of Malaysia and its citizens.

His majesty also welcomed the government’s efforts to enhance transparency among others, by fully disclosing the government’s financial position and re-evaluating expenditures, as well as practising prudent financial management.

“In order to curb the rising cost of living, I support the move to abolish the Goods and Services Tax, as well as to stabilise fuel prices and to extend the Bantuan Sara Hidup.

“I also applaud the people from all walks of life for their show of patriotism by donating to the Tabung Harapan,” he added.

Sultan Muhammad V said the contribution of almost 15 million workers is significant to the nation’s development, thus they should never be forgotten in formulating policies.

He said workers should reap the reward from the introduction of initiatives such as the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, standardisation of minimum wage and creation of jobs.

“Effective measures also have to be taken to convince existing investors, as well as to attract new investors to Malaysia,” he added.

Earlier, his majesty received the royal salute and inspected the guard-of-honour before opening the proceedings.

Sultan Muhammad V arrived at the Parliament at 9.59am and was welcomed by the Speaker Mohamad Ariff, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Deputy Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

He received the royal salute mounted by the Royal Malay Regiment Central Band led by Major Muhamad Nor Azizan Yahya, with the royal flag hoisted simultaneously accompanied by a 21-gun salute and the national anthem, “Negaraku”.

Sultan Muhammad V then inspected the guard-of-honour mounted by four officers and 103 members from the First Battalion Royal Malay Regiment, Sungai Besi Camp, led by Major Mohd Izham Ahmad Rashidi.

The Dewan Rakyat will sit for 20 days beginning Tuesday until Aug 16, while the Senate will sit for 11 days from Aug 27 until Sept 13, 2018.