Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has extended his gratitude to federal lawmakers today for provisionally approving Budget 2021.
Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the Agong also welcomed the support given to Budget 2021, which would safeguard the wellbeing of Malaysians and economic recovery amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Agong also expressed his gratitude to federal lawmakers who have upheld His Majesty’s decree on October 28 for the sake of the welfare of the people and the wellness of the nation,” Ahmad Fadil said in a statement.
Earlier today, Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) inaugural Budget 2021 passed the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat with a voice vote after fewer than the 15 lawmakers needed to force bloc-voting rose to make their rejection known.
With this extraordinary and unprecedented move to pat MPs on the head, the Agong appears to have made a blatant decision to assert his position as the man in charge of the government of the country, as opposed to a temporary head of state with a highly limited role under the Constitution.
The gesture comes amidst a growing understanding that he had favoured the recent notorious plan to declare an ‘Emergency’ to prop up the prime minister he himself chose (rather than MPs). After the shocking idea was voted down by fellow sultans in the Council of Rulers he then petulantly demanded that parliament support the budget anyway.
This is not his role. Nor was it earlier his role to over-ride the sovereign Parliament and chose the prime minister. Yet now he has taken a giant step further even than this and publicly taken effective ownership of the PM8 budget by personally thanking MPs in such a manner.
He is thereby attempting to force on the country a bloated instrument that reeks of corruption and does barely anything for the people in the middle of a pandemic. It is as if there were no other solution to the problem that his choice for prime minister commands an inadequate following among the elected representatives of the people.
Where will this constitutional over-reach end, Malaysians have to ask? Will this Agong attempt to restrict the once sovereign Parliament to a subservient budget-stamping affair sitting barely once a year, like some autocratic Middle Eastern Monarchy – or did that just already happen?
He has already ensured the appointment of his non-elected personal pal to be the Finance Minister and slotted a puppet rebel from his brother in law’s circle of influence to be PM8. So is this latest smug and totally unprecedented ‘message of gracious thanks’ from the Palace to MPs for doing his bidding, instead of voting according to their conscience, designed to confirm and impress upon the whole country who now calls the shots?
If so, decades of respect built up through the careful conduct of the previous constitutional monarchs of Malaysia will be squandered by a power-grab and over-reach that can no longer be ignored.
Back in March, London’s Guardian newspaper described the establishment of this present backdoor government as the product of a ‘Royal Coup’. Little has happened since that would serve to change that assessment – it has just become all the more apparent.