SHAH ALAM • A huge crowd turned up in support of Selangor ruler, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, yesterday in the state capital of Shah Alam, in a rally aimed at defending him against a recent comment made by opposition member Zaid Ibrahim, Malaysian media reported.
The rally was called after Datuk Zaid, a Democratic Action Party member, 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 was criticising 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 yesterday's rally 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 said. Bernama news agency said about 5,000 people attended the gathering . Mostly clad in red, they held placards saying "Do not humiliate our Sultan!" and "Zaid Ibrahim get out of Selangor". Many donned headbands bearing the words Daulat Tuanku (Long live the King).
The rally began with leaders from component parties of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition condemning 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 and it had hurt the Selangor people and angered the state's ruler. He also said a declaration in support of Sultan Sharafuddin, which calls for action to be taken against Mr Zaid and Dr Mahathir, would be handed to the palace tomorrow.