SHAH ALAM - A huge crowd turned up at a rally in support of Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah on Sunday (Dec 10) in the state capital of Shah Alam that was aimed at defending the sultan over a recent comment made by opposition member Zaid Ibrahim against the ruler, Malaysian media reported.
The rally was called after Democratic Action Party member Zaid Ibrahim wrote in a Twitter post on Dec 4 that the Sultan should be "careful" with his words. Mr Zaid was referring to the Sultan's comments in an interview with The Star, in which the ruler called former Premier Mahathir Mohamad "an angry man" who would burn the whole country with his anger".
The Sultan had made the comment to criticise Tun Dr Mahathir for attacking the Bugis community in his political fight against Prime Minister Najib Razak. He had said that the use of sensitive issues to fish for votes in the general election would destroy the country.
Dr Mahathir, the chairman of the Pakatan Harapan opposition pact, had in October given a speech at an opposition rally in Petaling Jaya where he compared Datuk Seri Najib to a "Bugis pirate".
Participants at Sunday's rally, which was held near the Seksyen 16 flats, a usually quiet residential area, took Dr Mahathir to task for insulting the Bugis ethnic community and offending the Sultan, who has Bugis lineage, The Star reported.
About 5,000 people turned up for the gathering, according to the official Bernama news agency.
Mostly clad in red, they held placards with the slogans "Do not humiliate our Sultan!" and "Zaid Ibrahim get out of Selangor" and donned headbands bearing the words Daulat Tuanku (Long live the King).
The rally began with leaders from several component parties of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition delivering speeches condemning both Mr Zaid's statement against the Sultan and Dr Mahathir's alleged insult of the Bugis community.
Selangor Umno chairman Noh Omar said Mr Zaid's statement was rude, adding that it had hurt the Selangor people and angered the state's ruler.
He also said a declaration in support of Sultan Sharafuddin which also calls for actions to be taken against Mr Zaid and Dr Mahathir would be handed over to the palace on Tuesday (Dec 12).
"We call upon all Selangor citizens to stand strong and united behind any action by the Sultan," he said.