King’s wisdom evident in resolving post-GE14 turmoil

Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah is commended for his wisdom that stood as the most effective last line of defence, successfully thwarting a major crisis in the country following the 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018.

The reign of Sultan Abdullah, who ascended the federal throne on Jan 31, 2019, was notably challenging as he witnessed the change of government three times in less than five years after GE14.

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Sharing his insights as one of the individuals closest to His Majesty at that time, former Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said he witnessed how composed Sultan Abdullah was in handling the political turmoil that gripped the nation at that time.

“His Majesty prioritised diplomacy over confrontation and, in fact, opted for a consultative approach when it came to major decisions for the country, including holding discussions with the Malay Rulers.

“That is the true character of Al-Sultan Abdullah, who gained exposure to diplomatic courses during his studies at Sandhurst (in the United Kingdom), in addition to his role as a member of the FIFA executive committee and vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC),” he told Bernama.

Ahmad Fadil – now serving as Malaysian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates – also described Sultan Abdullah as a visionary leader whose every decision is based on the interest, safety and well-being of the people and nation.

He said that even though directives in some issues may not be fully implemented at times, His Majesty remained open-minded without expressing anger towards the involved parties.

In addition to the four changes in the prime ministership involving Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the GE15, which ended in a hung parliament, highlights the credibility of His Majesty as the main pillar for the country’s security and unity.

According to constitutional expert Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, Sultan Abdullah had effectively utilised the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as enshrined in the Federal Constitution to prevent the country from plunging into administrative crises and prolonged political turmoil.

Citing Dr Mahathir’s resignation, Shamrahayu said His Majesty had demonstrated his wisdom by appointing Dr Mahathir as interim prime minister to ensure the country always had a leader and that administrative affairs could be carried out until his successor was finalised.

“The hung parliament, which occurred for the first time in the country’s history, once again proved the wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong when he proposed the establishment of a unity government to resolve the crisis,” said the law lecturer at International Islamic University Malaysia.

Meanwhile, political analyst Prof Dr Ahmad Martadha Mohamed described Sultan Abdullah’s courage in making crucial decisions while also obtaining the views of the Malay Rulers as key to successfully managing all crises.

“At that time when politicians’ maturity was lost in power struggles and they were no longer reliable to solve problems and safeguard the welfare of the people and the nation, Al-Sultan Abdullah and the constitutional monarchy became the last line of defence and the sole hope for the people to save the country.

“Without this, we might have fallen into prolonged conflicts, leading to an unstable country, and the people would suffer due to the economic downturn.

“In fact, it is also possible to see foreign interference in the affairs and policies of the nation,” said the deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) of Universiti Utara Malaysia.

Sultan Abdullah will complete his term as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Tuesday, and the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, will begin his reign as the 17th Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a five-year term, effective Jan 31.

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