KUALA LUMPUR - Politicians of both stripes and Malaysians reacted swiftly in praising the King's decision not to declare a state of emergency on Sunday (Oct 25), with the hashtag #Daulat Tuanku, or long live the King, trending on Twitter following the royal proclamation.
Democratic Action Party veteran and lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said the decision showed that the "constitutional monarchy proves to be an important bulwark of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia".
"Malaysians from all walks of life thank the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah for deciding not to declare a state of emergency after a special meeting with Malay Rulers today," Mr Lim said in a statement.
He called on all Malaysians, especially MPs, to unite to forge an "all-of-government" and "whole-of-society" war against the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former DAP minister Yeo Bee Yin tweeted: "What now? Focus on fighting Covid, focus on building the economy, get Confidence & Supply Agreement work."
She was referring to an earlier offer by several opposition politicians to reach a cross-party deal with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in what is known as a "confidence-and-supply" pact, where a party or a group of lawmakers agrees to support the government on motions of confidence or supply bills, in exchange for reforms.
DAP vice-chair and former minister M. Kulasegaran tweeted: "Daulat Tuanku. Thank you for always being the people's King and doing what's best for the nation. A decision that comes as a relief to all Malaysians. Let's put aside politics and work to curb the spread of #COVIDー19 and focus on nation building."
Muda party founder Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who had earlier supported the idea of a cross-party deal, called on all politicians to stop politicking.
"I hope the prime minister will call up all political leaders to find common ground to ensure the country's stability," he was quoted as saying by Malay-language daily Berita Harian.
Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin said the decision shows that the Federal Constitution should not be used arbitrarily.
The King, "as well as the Malay Rulers have made a wise decision not to declare a state of emergency and have truly taken the rakyat's interest into consideration", he was quoted as saying by The Star daily. "In fact, the decision shows that the Federal Constitution should not be used arbitrarily."
"Let this matter serve as a lesson to all parties, " he added.
The short-lived proposal by Tan Sri Muhyiddin and his Perikatan Nasional government to declare a state of emergency and possibly suspend Parliament came ahead of a Nov 6 tabling of next year's Budget, which looked in danger of falling through amid claims by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that he had wrested majority support in Parliament from the premier.
Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan urged all politicians to help pass next year's Budget to support the healthcare system in the war against Covid-19.
"I hope that politicians will focus entirely on the Budget. Prioritise the people. That is the main responsibility as a leader."
Former premier Najib Razak also weighed in on the matter.
"If this government is worried that the 2021 Budget may not be passed, thus causing PN to collapse, PN should hold talks with various parties so the budget will not be opposed," he said.
Netizens took to the Internet to hail the decision.
Twitter user Pravin Snow posted: "Thank you beloved YDP Agong! Glad we, Rakyat have you as our shield of defense when the rest failed to protect us. Daulat Tuanku!"
Another user Saladin wrote on Twitter: "We must praise our "Rulers" for their Wisdom who are independent of Politics because they know sometimes our "Politicians" use them to further their "Agenda"! DAULAT TUANKU!"
However, there were some concerns that a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections may rise with an upcoming by-election in Sabah, a state which currently bears the brunt of the current pandemic following a state-wide election last month.
Najib suggested that the incumbent Warisan party be allowed to take the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat unopposed, to prevent the virus from spreading during campaigning.
The Batu Sapi seat fell vacant after the death of former law minister Liew Vui Keong last month. Polling takes place on Dec 5.