Agong’s warning against political instability gives Anwar a chance, says analyst

But while Jeniri Amir says it provides a ‘guarantee of stability’, Syaza Shukri says the prime minister is still vulnerable to no-confidence motions.

(FMT) – Analysts are at odds over the effect of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim’s warning to MPs in his maiden address to Parliament.

In his address to lawmakers on Monday, the Agong said he will not entertain attempts to unseat the unity government so as not to threaten the country’s political stability.

Jeniri Amir, a fellow at the Council of Professors, said the Agong’s “stern” message gave Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration a “guarantee of stability”.

Jeniri Amir.

He said Sultan Ibrahim’s statement was an assurance that the unity government could continue leading the country, calling it an opportunity for Anwar to make good on promised reforms.

“One of his (Anwar’s) main problems is that he is perceived as being somewhat slow (in implementing promised reforms), or as contradicting (the promises he made) when he was the opposition leader.

“The available time (until the next general election) should be utilised as efficiently as possible, especially with efforts to address public and national issues and undertake reforms to put the country on the right track,” Jeniri told FMT.

Sultan Ibrahim on Monday warned MPs against causing political instability, saying they must prioritise protecting the welfare of Malaysians over their own interests or those of their political parties.

“All parties must accept the reality and respect the unity government that has been formed. If you want to play politics, wait for the next general election,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.

Anwar’s efforts to implement the reforms he promised as opposition leader have come under question in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, around 100 protestors turned up at a Bersih rally to pressure the government into carrying out political reforms.

Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming of DAP meanwhile told the government to focus on delivering results instead of “stale soundbites”.

But Syaza Shukri of the International Islamic University Malaysia said the Agong’s remarks do not guarantee that Anwar will remain prime minister until the 16th general election.

Syaza Syukri.

She said the Agong’s discretionary power to appoint the prime minister, laid out in the Federal Constitution, would not stop MPs from tabling a motion of no confidence against Anwar in Parliament.

“We don’t know what will happen in the next few years. There is still a possibility (for a change of government).

“The possibility may have become slimmer (after the Agong’s statement), but that’s not to say that it is entirely gone,” Syaza said.