The Agong expenses controversy: Anwar did what Mahathir failed to do

The Third Force

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim defended the Monarchical Institution by hitting out at Dato’ A Kadir Jasin for his recent views on the Yang diPertuan Agong. Yesterday, the veteran newsman  accused the Kelantan ruler of spending over a quarter billion in a span of just six months since becoming the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Anwar took a swipe at Jasin by pointing out the need for there to be decorum when expressing views against the constitutional ruler (see news item below).

Jasin hinged his attack solely on a Microsoft Exel spreadsheet screen-capture that went viral via WhatsApp and We Chat. The veteran newsman failed to provide us clues of any attempt on his part to verify the legitimacy of accounts contained within the spreadsheet. Yet, he went public with the accounts and implied that our rulers were living the high-life. The Third Force came out yesterday to rubbish the spreadsheet by presenting the rakyat with verified estimates of the Agong’s 2017 and 2018 expenses.

Jasin’s actions were seen to be part of a broader Mahathir-PPBM agenda to undermine the sanctity of the Monarchical Institution. The Prime Minister more or less defended Jasin by telling newsmen that the government would look into the RM257 billion claim. He should instead have ticked the Pakatan spokesperson off for misrepresenting the government by implying that the ruling Pakatan Harapan was determined to clamp down on royal expenditure.

Clearly, that didn’t happen.