Workers face action for insulting Malaysia royalty

Sultan Muhammad V abdicated as King of Malaysia on Sunday.
Sultan Muhammad V abdicated as King of Malaysia on Sunday.

PETALING JAYA • Malaysian consultancy firm Pemandu Associates has suspended an employee who allegedly posted remarks laced with profanity against the monarchy on social media.

Pemandu said yesterday that it was taking the issue seriously, adding that an internal inquiry was being conducted.

"Pemandu Associates has suspended an employee with immediate effect regarding a tweet allegedly posted by the individual in reference to the royalty," it said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Malaysians had bombarded Pemandu's Facebook page with a screenshot of the disparaging remark, urging the firm to take action against the employee.

The firm's statement came the same day that tech company Cisco Asean decided to sack an employee for insulting the Malaysian king on Facebook, after mounting public pressure.

"Cisco firmly believes in respecting and honouring local Malaysian traditions and laws. The remark was made by the employee in his personal capacity and does not represent Cisco's views," the company said in a statement on its Facebook page.

"We deeply regret any distress caused and apologise. The employee has also issued an apology and is no longer with the company," Cisco added.


Power utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) took similar action yesterday, suspending its employee over a remark she allegedly made against the monarch on Twitter after its Facebook site was bombarded with messages from the public to terminate her employment.

The companies' responses came in the wake of Sunday's announcement by Kelantan ruler, Sultan Muhammad V, that he was stepping down as Malaysia's King.

Neither the palace nor the Prime Minister's Office has given a reason for the sudden abdication of the 49-year-old monarch after just two years on the throne - three years short of the usual five-year tenure.

Under Malaysia's unique five-year rotation system involving the nine royal Malay houses, the next in line to be king is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang. The 88-year-old ruler is followed by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, 60, of Johor, and Sultan Nazrin Shah, 62, from Perak.

The Conference of Rulers - which includes the nine sultans - will hold a special meeting on Jan 24 to choose a new king.

The Keeper of the Rulers' Seal yesterday said the new king will take his oath of office on Jan 31, allowing him to carry out his duties immediately, even before being installed ceremonially.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'Workers face action for insulting Malaysia royalty'. Subscribe