The Palace revealed how the PM made an “unscheduled audience” on Oct 9 to pressure the King to dissolve Parliament.
After months of pressure from his own party, PM Ismail Sabri has finally announced the dissolution of Parliament on Monday (Oct 10), paving the way for the 15th General Election. Malaysia will now go to the polls within 60 days. This also means Sabri is effectively the shortest serving prime minister – just 14 months, worse than his predecessor Mahiaddin Yassin’s 17 months.
It’s highly unlikely that the turtle-egg man would become a prime minister again, even if the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) wins the snap election. Regardless whether UMNO wins big or not, the party’s president – Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – would be the first choice for the top job. Only by becoming the prime minister can Zahid order the judiciary to drop all his corruption charges.
Traditionally, the prime minister post is reserved for the UMNO president by virtue as the leader of the most dominant political party since independence in 1957. Zahid is the only UMNO president who did not get the job – a humiliation he desperately wants to redeem. Armed with a huge win in the Melaka and Johor state elections, the top leadership of UMNO believes they can also win the national election.
Lame duck Sabri had never expected to become the country’s 9th Prime Minister. The accidental premier was lucky to be at the right place at the right time. After traitor Mahiaddin was himself backstabbed and betrayed in August 2021 by an UMNO faction led by Zahid and ex-PM Najib Razak, Zahid badly wanted the premiership, but could not due to his ongoing corruption trial.
Forced to reluctantly withdraw his name, Zahid’s elimination saw the candidate went to the party’s second in command – UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hasan. However, the No. 2 man was quickly disqualified as he was merely an assemblyman. Therefore, Sabri got the job despite only ranked third in UMNO’s hierarchy. He was considered a seat warmer for Zahid from the beginning.
In his special announcement to dissolve the Parliament, PM Ismail Sabri said the Agong (King) had given the royal consent. But the question is whether the King had willingly agreed or was pressured by the power-hungry UMNO leaders. Last Thursday (Oct 6), Sabri said that “if possible”, he would submit a proposed date for the dissolution of Parliament when he met the monarch.
However, the prime minister did not discuss the matter during his audience at the Palace. On the same day, King Sultan Abdullah said that he wanted the Ministry of Environment and Water to pay attention to the country’s early warning disaster system in preparation for floods. There were wild rumours that the Parliament would be dissolved right after Budget 2023 was presented.
If the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Representatives) is dissolved before the annual Budget can be debated and approved, it has to be presented again in the Parliament after a new government is formed. Essentially, the pre-election budget would be flooded with sweet promises or unrealistic allocations to fish for votes, which Sabri government did on Friday with the biggest budget in history – a whopping RM372.3 billion.
On Sunday (Oct 9), two days later, speaking at the national-level Maulidur Rasul celebration at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian King again called on all relevant agencies to make thorough and comprehensive preparations to face the risk of massive floods. If the monarch had already given his consent on Thursday, why did he hypocritically talk about flooding?
The monarch warned – “Every year in November, the country is faced with the risk of flooding, and recently, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) predicted that Malaysia would face heavy rains and the risk of major floods. I would like to remind my subjects to brace themselves and make preparations to face possible weather phenomena.”
In case UMNO leaders still didn’t get the message, or pretend to not understand the message, the King said – “The concept of administration demanded by Islam is a trust that is always within the scope of the divine covenant between human beings and their Creator. So, everything that the leader does must be done solely on the basis of safeguarding the welfare of the ummah (community).”
The royal message to national leaders to emulate Prophet Muhammad’s administration in various aspects of life, including the concept of administration based on good governance, politics, economy, security and justice was the clearest show of displeasure from the Malay Ruler, who disapproved of the selfish political agenda of the United Malays National Organization.
In another lecture to UMNO leaders, the monarch said – “Prophet Muhammad prioritised the interests of the many over individuals. He did not fight for a narrow agenda, but acted justly by developing an idea for the well-being of the ummah”. It was a slap in the face of UMNO leaders aligned to president Zahid over their selfish desire for power as they continued to pressure for a national election.
King Sultan Abdullah also showed that he too knows how to play the religion card when he reminded UMNO-Malays or UMNO-Muslims that Prophet Muhammad had taught every leader to set the right intentions, be honest in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to them, and embrace the value of “taqwa (piety)” as the main principle.
The Ruler warned about floods every November. He revealed the weather forecast about major floods. He reminded that Islam demands a trustworthy government. He even quoted the selfless Prophet Muhammad’s administration that prioritised the people. He was targeting Zahid, who doesn’t care about floods, isn’t a trustworthy leader, and selfishly wanted to become the next prime minister by hook or by crook.
To distance himself from UMNO toxic politics, the monarch had even decided to leave for London on a week-long special visit (Oct 10 – Oct 16) to the United Kingdom. The King doesn’t actually need to go, but he purposely chose to meet with British newly crowned King Charles III just to pay a courtesy call, less than a month after he went there to pay his last respects to Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept 8.
It would be strange and unprecedented for the Malaysian King to leave the country if indeed he had consented to the dissolution of the Parliament. But Prime Minister Ismail Sabri scrambled to meet the King again on Sunday after they attended the Prophet’s Birthday celebration together earlier in the morning. Clearly, the Agong was ambushed before he could fly to Britain.
In a statement, the Palace revealed how PM Sabri made an “unscheduled audience” at noon on Sunday (Oct 9) to pressure the King to dissolve Parliament. The royal statement, issued by the Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said that the Agong had no choice but to give his consent due to “disappointing” political developments.
The simple fact that the Palace issued a statement merely “two hours” after Ismail’s announcement of the dissolution of the Parliament shows that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) was extremely upset with the UMNO-Malay leaders. The royal statement was to “clarify to the people” that the monarch had never agreed to hold an election during the monsoon season.
It would be both foolish and hypocritical for the monarch to talk about the floods and the teachings of Islam while at the same time agreed with UMNO to hold an election. Last year’s floods killed 54 and caused RM6 billion in losses, not to mention at least 60,000 people were left at evacuation centres at the peak of the flooding. But why did the royal house agree to Sabri’s eleventh hour demand?
The clue can be found in the statement released by the Palace. The royal statement said – “His majesty expressed his disappointment with the current political situation and his majesty had no choice but to consent to the prime minister’s request to allow the mandate to be returned to the people to choose a stable government”. The key word here is “stable government”.
The King most likely had pre-emptively rejected the idea of dissolving the Parliament during his session with the prime minister last Thursday. That explains why there wasn’t any discussion about it in the first place during Sabri’s audience at the Palace. The errand boy then rushed to meet his party president on the same day, only to be taught how to threaten the Malay Monarch.
Yes, not only the King had been ambushed, he also has been threatened. And based on the royal statement, Sabri – either deliberately or obediently – appears to have threatened the King on behalf of UMNO that the government could collapse anytime should consent to dissolve the Parliament not granted. Worse, power-crazy Zahid might choose to topple the government when the monsoon season is in full swing.
If Zahid suddenly suspends (part of political drama) the UMNO membership of Sabri in the middle of heavy rains and floods, which typically starts around late November and could last until March (next year), it could create a leadership crisis, which pro-UMNO bloggers, cyber troopers, propagandists and the news media would blame on Sultan Abdullah’s refusal to act early.
Even if the turtle-egg man has the balls to fight his president, which he hasn’t, the country could be plunged into chaos as the legitimacy of the prime minister will need to be tested. Despite Opposition’s pledge to support the premier, government resources to help flood victims might not be mobilized as the so-called Malay-Muslim government would be busy fighting for power.
Since the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government was toppled by the treachery and betrayal of Muhyiddin in March 2020, history has shown that the backdoor government (first Muhyiddin and then Sabri) will always prioritize position and power of politicians instead of the welfare of the people. Muhyiddin’s Covid mishandling saw 13,000 people killed and Sabri’s incompetence caused 54 deaths during floods last year.
King Sultan Abdullah knew UMNO’s dirty political move was dangerous as angry people will certainly blame UMNO as well as the royal house for deaths due to floods. Worse, the royal institution will be slammed as a forked-tongue monarch that happily flies away on holiday in the UK, leaving the people to take care of themselves. Hence, the urgent royal message to pass the ball back to UMNO.
But the damage has been done. Moving forward, the people can only pray that the floods will not be serious. However, if UMNO is not punished, they will repeat the same political drama again in the future. Not only UMNO must be taught a lesson, the snap election now opens the door for the people eagerly waiting to slaughter all the Bersatu traitors led by Muhyiddin Yassin and Azmin Ali. – Finance Twitter