PETALING JAYA: After granting audiences to several political party heads at Istana Negara, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is set to chair a special meeting involving the Malay Rulers on June 16 to discuss efforts to combat Covid-19 during the Emergency period.
Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the special meeting would be held on Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s own initiative.
“It will be the second of such meetings to be held at Istana Negara since His Majesty ascended to the throne as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 31, 2019, ” Ahmad Fadil said in a statement yesterday.
He said the first special meeting involving the Malay Rulers took place on Oct 25 last year at Istana Negara.
The day started off with a pre-Cabinet audience with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who arrived at 8am. The audience with the King lasted for about an hour.
This was followed by the arrival of PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at 10.30am, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng at 2pm and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu at 3pm.
The palace described the meeting between the King and Muhyiddin as a weekly activity for His Majesty to discuss and exchange views with the Prime Minister on matters and issues concerning governance.
It said the meeting on June 16 would focus on the national effort to stem the rise in Covid-19 cases during the Emergency period.
Dozens of media members had gathered outside the palace’s gates since 7am. Reports emerged last Friday that the King was set to meet the heads of major political parties to deliberate on the current political situation amid the pandemic.
There was also speculation of a new political landscape emerging with the ongoing Emergency Proclamation due to expire on Aug 1.
Anwar, who stopped to speak to reporters while leaving the palace, said he had made a plea to His Majesty not to extend the Emergency Proclamation beyond Aug 1, on the grounds that it could bring adverse effects especially to the national economy.
“We gave our views that the extension of the Emergency will affect the economy, especially ordinary citizens. There are other steps that can be taken.
“There is no need for an Emergency. So we pleaded with Tuanku not to extend the Emergency, ” he told reporters after he stepped out briefly from his black Jaguar.
Asked if his audience touched on the possibility of a change of government, Anwar said this was not brought up.
“That is an issue that does not arise at this point, ” he said.
The Port Dickson MP said he had submitted reports and research papers to the King during his hour-long audience.
Lim arrived in a white Toyota Vellfire along with the party’s Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim for an audience that lasted for more than an hour.
Lim said he raised issues pertaining to the Covid-19 vaccination programme and the need to provide financial aid to the poor at this time.
“Tuanku is very concerned about the Covid-19 pandemic and also its economic effects on the people, ” he said.
Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, said he raised issues concerning the people’s livelihood.
He said many people were going to service centres for food aid because they did not have any money.
Meanwhile, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air announced that its pro-tem chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would have an audience with the King at noon today.
This would be followed by Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had said that an invitation was sent to party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s office in Terengganu on June 4, but did not say when the audience would take place.
Gabungan Parti Sarawak leaders will talk to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong via video call on Monday.