Pahang Sultan urges people to support Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - The Sultan of Pahang has thrown his weight behind Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose image has suffered a battering lately, urging his people not to "criticise without knowing the real issue".

Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah told his subjects to support the embattled leader, so as to maintain peace and prosperity in the country.

"Najib is a hardworking leader and I am very proud of him. Let us all pray that he remains in the leadership position," Bernama news agency reported Sultan Ahmad as saying in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan.

"The rakyat (people) must support him, don't criticise without knowing the real issue," he added. It was not clear what "real issue" Sultan Ahmad was referring to. Datuk Seri Najib is a long-serving MP of Pekan, Pahang.

The Sultan's backing was the first show of support from a member of royalty for Mr Najib, who has been feeling the heat over a number of scandals, including alleged fraud in the state-owned investment arm, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Mr Najib has been taken to task by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who questioned his credibility and policies. Celebrities, including singer Siti Nurhaliza, have rooted for Tun Dr Mahathir. An Instagram posting earlier this week by Datuk Siti, pledging support for the former leader, received 23,000 likes by last night.

Former information minister Zainuddin Maidin warned in his blog yesterday that Ms Siti's support for Dr Mahathir is a huge threat to Mr Najib, because her supporters vastly outnumber the Prime Minister's backers, the Malaysiakini website reported. "Millions have read news (of Ms Siti supporting Dr Mahathir) through social media. Support for Siti is more than enough to bury the thousands of Najib supporters from Umno, NGOs and others."