KUALA LUMPUR - As the Malaysian king was set to deliver his opening speech in Parliament on Tuesday morning (July 17), about 100 protesters attempted to march there claiming that he has been silenced by the appointment of non-Malays to top posts.
The demonstrators tried twice to walk towards Parliament from the Bukit Aman police headquarters less than 1km away but were stopped by policemen and riot police each time.
"We want to show our support to the King, I don't see why (Prime Minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is so scared and won't allow us to go to Parliament. This shows that we have returned to being ruled under a dictatorship," Umno supreme council member Lokman Adam said to the protesters, who shouted "Mahathir is a coward".
The group, which calls itself Pemantau Malaysia Baru or New Malaysia Watch, chanted slogans, sang Negaraku, and recited the Rukunegara, which guarantees the status of the King and rule of law.
Many wore placards bearing slogans such as "Return power to the King" and "Long live the King".
They had earlier said they would march with hands bound and mouths taped as a symbol of the Agong's loss of power but had apparently decided not to.
Earlier, Mr Lokman accused Dr Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan of abandoning Malay Muslim rights with the appointment of a non-Malay Attorney-General.
"Since Pakatan Harapan took over government, Islamic institutions have been degraded, the special rights of Malays questioned, and the saddest part of all is that many have started insulting the Agong," he said in a statement.
The King had tried to oppose the appointment of corporate lawyer Tommy Thomas as Attorney-General but in the end had to agree due to Dr Mahathir's insistence, Mr Lokman alleged.
The King had also tried to oppose several Cabinet appointments but also gave in upon no sign of dissent from citizens, he claimed.
The new Law Minister and Chief Justice are both non-Muslims.
Mr Lokman told The Straits Times that the group opposed the appointment of Thomas as he was formerly the lawyer for the late Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng, who had committed terrorist acts during the emergency years.
He added that the group was also against the recent appointment of Tan Sri Richard Malanjum as Chief Justice, saying that he was one of the Federal judges who, in a landmark decision earlier this year, had nullified the conversion to Islam of three children by their Muslim convert father. Their Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi, had filed an application against her former husband's actions.
"We believe that this Chief of Justice will not be able to uphold Muslim rights, he will be biased. We want to protect Malay rights, and Islam," he said.
Previously, the same group had gathered at the KL Court Complex where former premier Najib Razak was charged with corruption on July 4, and had turned rowdy when Thomas had attempted to hold a press conference.
The group, who had gatecrashed the news conference, jeered at Thomas, and shouted "Malay! Malay!" - demanding that he speak in Malay - in protest over his perceived inadequate command of the language.