Johor sultan disappointed at politicians jostling for power when people are reeling from COVID-19
JOHOR BAHRU: Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has expressed disappointment at politicians “jostling for power” at a time when many Malaysians are reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sultan Ibrahim released the statement on Tuesday evening (Aug 10), the same day Muslims across the country celebrate new year on the Islamic calendar.
“I am disappointed at leaders disturbing the government and jostling for power at a time when the people are depressed and facing numerous difficulties brought on by the ever-menacing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
He added that with the Islamic new year, all Muslim leaders in the country should reflect upon lessons taught where the power to rule lies with god.
“Therefore, all leaders must be honourable and trustworthy in discharging their duties, by prioritising the people and the unity of the community, not your own selfish interests to the detriment of the nation’s harmony and political balance,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
“Now is the time for you to jostle to help the people, not the time to be jostling for power and influence,” he added.
Sultan Ibrahim’s statement comes as Malaysia is embroiled in a political crisis, with Prime Minister Muhyiddin’s thin parliamentary majority being challenged.
On Aug 3, UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed that he had gathered a sufficient number of statutory declarations (SDs) from party lawmakers who had withdrawn their support for Mr Muhyiddin. As such, Mr Muhyiddin has lost his majority, he said.
A day later, Mr Muhyiddin insisted in a televised address that he still commanded a parliamentary majority. He promised to provide his legitimacy as prime minister through a motion of confidence in a parliament meeting in September.
The opposition camp and Ahmad Zahid had since raised doubts over Mr Muhyiddin’s majority claim and urged him and his Cabinet to resign.
Amid the political turbulence, Malaysia continues to battle high daily COVID-19 numbers. On Tuesday, Malaysia logged 19,991 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total cumulative cases to almost 1.3 million across the country.
In his address to the nation on Monday in conjunction with the Islamic new year, Malaysia’s king Al Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah urged Malaysians to comply with measures set out in the country’s four-phase National Recovery Plan, Malaysia’s blueprint to exit from the pandemic.
Sultan Abdullah also called on Malaysians to rise together to strengthen unity, maintain health and adhere to the COVID-19 measures for the sake of the country.
Last Sunday, Mr Muhyiddin announced privileges extended to fully vaccinated individuals, included allowing long-distance married couples to cross district or state borders to meet up, while fully vaccinated parents are also allowed to travel within the country to meet their children who are under 18 years old.
Fully vaccinated Malaysians and permanent residents returning from overseas will be able to serve their quarantine at home.
The government has also lifted certain COVID-19 curbs for states and federal territories that have already transitioned into the second and third phase of the National Recovery Plan (NPR).
Dine-in, cross-district travel and domestic tourism activities, for instance, would be allowed for fully vaccinated people. Residents in these areas would also be able to enjoy a wider range of non-contact and individual sports and recreational activities, including fishing, equestrian sports, hiking, archery and golf.
Currently, Perlis, Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan have transitioned into the NPR’s third phase.
Six other states, including Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Penang and Sabah, are in the second phase, while the rest are still in phase one.