Giving a much needed boost to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the newly crowned Malaysian King Sultan Ibrahim has decreed that he would not entertain any request to change the current government. However, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. The monarch’s support and endorsement for Mr Anwar also means a horrible news to Opposition Perikatan Nasional.

In his royal address at the First Meeting of the Third Session of the 15th Parliament on Feb 26, the King said – “Anyone seeking to play politics should wait for the next general election. All parties must accept and respect the unity government that has been formed. I would like to remind you that this Parliament is the place where laws are enacted and that members of Parliament (MPs) are the legislators.”

Calling both the ruling government and the opposition to collaborate, the monarch said – “The success or failure of our country does not rest solely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister but is the responsibility of all 222 MPs who have been entrusted by the people to represent them in the government. All parties are well aware that my priority is the well-being of more than 33 million Malaysian citizens out there.”

Besides warning the opposition against threatening political stability, the King also took a jab at the “monkeys” who misbehave in the parliament, granting permission to the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) Speaker to suspend MPs who cross the line for 14 days. In the same breath, Anwar government was also told to narrow its budget deficit and reform its policy on subsidies.

Interestingly, in what appear to be a first attack against former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Sultan Ibrahim said – “I am disheartened upon learning that due to the fiscal deficits incurred since 1998, the government today is bearing an increasingly large debt burden“. Mahathir, whose 22 years iron-fist rule (from 1981 to 2003) saw the sacking of Anwar in 1998, was a bitter enemy of the Johor Sultanate.

It’s crystal clear that the King has given his strongest approval for the Unity Government, formed between Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan coalition and nemesis-turn-ally Barisan Nasional coalition after the November 2022 General Election that produced a hung parliament. In fact, his support for the PM was so obvious that he “protects” Anwar from the inherited RM1.5 trillion national debts.

And it couldn’t be any clearer that the King, who is also the ruler of the southernmost state of Johor, has locked the door – and throws away the key – to any evil coup by the opposition to form yet another backdoor government. While Anwar commands super-majority support in Parliament, power-crazy Perikatan Nasional kept hatching plans to topple the government in order to escape corruption charges.

Less than 24 hours after the royal address, however, Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) rudely and arrogantly showed its “middle finger” to the Malay King. PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan has rubbished the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s (King) call for politicians to wait for the next 16th General Election to change government.

Worse, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang deliberately skipped the King’s inaugural royal address under dubious medical grounds. Having only attended 33 out of 103 Parliament sessions since July 26, 2021, Hadi demonstrates how he disrespects a Malay Ruler he claimed would defend and protect. Not that the King cares, but the opposition will pay dearly at a later stage.

The arrogance of PAS, and its partner Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party) in Perikatan Nasional, will come back to haunt it. In the past, the role of the Agong (translates roughly as “King of Kings”) was mostly ceremonial. But as the Southeast Asian nation plunged into a new political landscape due to power-hungry Malay politicians, that role has become increasingly important.

The PAS extremists should be careful what they wish for. They had forgotten how the King determined who holds power after the 15th national polls. Due to the extreme arrogance of Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Perikatan Nasional chairman, a proposal by former King Sultan Abdullah of Pahang to form a unity government was flatly and arrogantly thrown away.

Had power-hungry ex-prime minister Muhyiddin, backed by religious extremist Hadi, not rejected the royal proposal in Nov 2022, PAS and Bersatu would not have ended up in the opposition camp today. As a result of their strategic mistake and tactical blunder blinded by both arrogance and over-confidence, Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional successfully formed the unity government.

The burning question is what if the history repeats itself in the next 16th General Election? Under the unique system, the heads of Malaysia’s nine royal families take turns to be the King every five years. The Johor Sultan’s 5-year term as Agong, which began last month, will last till January 2029, whilst the next nationwide election must be held in Malaysia by February 2028.

That means the King will still call the shot regardless whether Anwar dissolves the Lower House early or lets it expires in 2028. Who do you think Supreme Commander Agong will prefer to be the next prime minister should there be yet another hung parliament? Clearly Takiyuddin and Hadi, who possessed “IQ of a carrot”, have not considered that possibility.

What Sultan Ibrahim meant with his refusal to entertain any requests from any party to change the existing unity government was related to statutory declarations (SDs). Both Muhyiddin and Hadi didn’t fully understand the anti-hopping law when they made a fool of themselves with dubious statutory declarations (SDs) thought to give them numbers to form a government.

In Nov 2022, Muhyiddin tried to scam – again – then-King Sultan Abdullah by claiming that he possessed 115 SDs (statutory declarations) supporting him as the 10th Prime Minister, the same trick he used to cheat his way to become the 8th Prime Minister with just 108 SDs back in February 2020. This round, his gimmick was rejected flatly by the Palace. He only had the support of 84 MPs.

To prove that Anwar has the numbers, less than a month after he became the premier, a confidence motion for him was won on Dec 19, 2022. Despite Muhyiddin’s weeks of whining, moaning and bitching that he had at least 115 MPs to support him as the prime minister, it was Anwar who had proven his legitimacy when he won a vote of confidence in the August House with a two-thirds majority.

Therefore, the opposition can still overthrow Anwar legally and constitutionally, but certainly not through the obsolete method of statutory declarations. To do that, Perikatan Nasional just needs to initiate a vote of no confidence in Parliament, which does not need to go through the King, who has already declared that he won’t entertain any request for a change of government.

Only when PAS and Bersatu try to form a backdoor government using SDs, bringing a pile of documents with them, they need to request an appointment with the King to present their case. Otherwise, they don’t need to meet the monarch. The catch is the lack of “element of surprise” when a motion of confidence is raised because it has to go through the House Speaker, who will alert the prime minister.

Still, even if for some miracles the opposition could get the pro-government House Speaker to allow a motion of no confidence to be tabled against Anwar Ibrahim, and win the vote to topple the prime minister, there’s no guarantee that Muhyiddin and Hadi can start popping champagne. Anwar could advise Sultan Ibrahim to dissolve the Parliament, which the King will gladly agree, paving the way for a snap election.

In June 2020, just 3 months after Muhyiddin was sworn in as the country’s first backdoor prime minister, the Johor Sultan threatened to dissolve the state legislative assembly over selfish and power-crazy politicians trying to destabilize Johor. In August 2021, he issued the same threat again if there was a power struggle to change the state government.

So, PAS extremists and Bersatu bigots are welcome to mock, belittle, insult and threaten the new King at their own peril. Arguably the most liberal and open-minded monarch, thanks to the proximity of Johor to Singapore, Sultan Ibrahim of Johor  would do everything in his power to prevent the country from falling into the hands of radicals such as PAS Mullahs.

It’s not hard to understand why, despite having insulted and disrespected the King, PAS has the cheek to shamelessly twist and spin the royal address to demand equal allocations from the federal government. The Opposition, especially the Islamist party, was fabulously upset with the royal decree because with the back door sealed, they can’t return to power and plunder national coffers.

Without money, the corrupt PAS and Bersatu won’t be able to survive till the next election, which is another 4 years away. A nationwide election needs money, lots of money. The RM90 million bribes Hadi received from former PM Najib Razak had allowed the Islamist party to contest a whopping 155 out of 222 parliamentary seats in the 2018 General Election.

In the 2022 national polls, as a member of the backdoor government, PAS had access to hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, which allowed it to bribe Malay voters and won 43 seats, becoming the biggest party in the country. In the next election, it would be hard to fund its election machinery and grassroots after accounts of its major sponsor – Bersatu – has been frozen.

Worse, Hadi’s cuddling with Mahathir failed spectacularly after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) froze accounts and assets of super-billionaire Daim Zainuddin, the major financier of Mahathir, whose mega-rich sons are also under investigations for possible money laundering. This is why PAS desperados are begging Malay nationalist UMNO to quit Anwar government and revive Muafakat Nasional.

Having tasted blood, PAS must return to power – by hook or by crook. However, the failure of “Dubai Move” to unseat Anwar has strengthened the prime minister’s position. To add salt to injury, half a dozen lawmakers from Bersatu have switched sides to the unity government. With the King’s reluctance to entertain a political coup, it’s a matter of time before more opposition MPs jump ship again.

The opposition needs all the friends it needed in the Palace. But like the Iranian Revolution 1979, snake oil salesman Mullah Hadi Awang and his minions thought they were more powerful than “The Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King)”. Call it revengeful or whatever you like, but the Royal House of Johor remembers those who disrespect them. And PAS has done an excellent job of insulting the monarch.

Source : Finance Twitter

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