Kuala Lumpur, May 18 (efe-epa).- During a royal address at Parliament House on Monday, Malaysia’s king urged national unity and warned lawmakers against dragging the country into further political turmoil.
“I would like to advise not to drag this country again into another political crisis at a time when the people are facing hardship and an uncertain future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” King Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin said as parliament convened for the first time since Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as prime minister on Mar. 1.
Social distancing measures were observed during the session, with the king, members of parliament and staff all wearing masks and seated apart.
King Abdullah told the members of parliament to “show maturity,” including “understanding people’s grievances, championing their plight, holding to principles of justice, practicing a clean political culture, and refraining from harping on religious and racial sensitivities,” according to state news agency Bernama.
“I believe that only through the unity of the people with the government can we build a stable, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia,” he said.
In February, Malaysia was plunged into political crisis after the shock resignation of then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, which only abated after the king appointed Muhyiddin as the successor.
The king addressed the new prime minister’s appointment in his speech.
“At around 5 pm on Feb 24, I received in audience YB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. During the meeting, I asked Tun Dr Mahathir not to resign. But he was firm in his decision,” he said.
In order to end the crisis he said he met one-on-one with MPs and “after going through the processes and in accordance with the Federal Constitution, I found YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Haji Yassin to have the confidence of the majority of the MPs and eligible to be appointed as the eighth prime minister.”
Also in his opening speech, King Abdullah warned that Malaysia would not become a fully developed, stable and prosperous nation if the country continued to be plagued by corruption.
“I urge my government to remain committed to implementing the national anti-corruption plan. I call on all quarters to support this aspiration so that each and every development agenda of the country will not be eroded by corruption, graft and abuse of power,” he said. “Instill into the minds of the people, right from their school days, that corruption is disgusting, dirty and must be fought to the fullest extent.”
Former leader Najib Razak, who was ousted by Mohamad in a shock 2018 landslide election win, is currently on trial for corruption, including over the multi-billion dollar 1MDB state fund fraud.
The 66-year-old denies the charges, which he says are politically motivated. EFE-EPA