The Agong expenses controversy: Anwar did what Mahathir failed to do

TTF: Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim defended the Monarchical Institution by hitting out at Dato’ A Kadir Jasin for his recent views on the Yang diPertuan Agong. Yesterday, the veteran newsman  accused the Kelantan ruler of spending over a quarter billion in a span of just six months since becoming the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Anwar took a swipe at Jasin by pointing out the need for there to be decorum when expressing views against the constitutional ruler (see news item below).

Jasin hinged his attack solely on a Microsoft Exel spreadsheet screen-capture that went viral via WhatsApp and We Chat. The veteran newsman failed to provide us clues of any attempt on his part to verify the legitimacy of accounts contained within the spreadsheet. Yet, he went public with the accounts and implied that our rulers were living the high-life. The Third Force came out yesterday to rubbish the spreadsheet by presenting the rakyat with verified estimates of the Agong’s 2017 and 2018 expenses.

Jasin’s actions were seen to be part of a broader Mahathir-PPBM agenda to undermine the sanctity of the Monarchical Institution. The Prime Minister more or less defended Jasin by telling newsmen that the government would look into the RM257 billion claim. He should instead have ticked the Pakatan spokesperson off for misrepresenting the government by implying that the ruling Pakatan Harapan was determined to clamp down on royal expenditure.

Clearly, that didn’t happen.

PETALING JAYA: PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has hit out at veteran newsman Datuk A Kadir Jasin for his recent views on the Yang diPertuan Agong.

“While I support democracy and freedom of expression, what was said was inappropriate,” Anwar told reporters after a closed door meeting with PKR assemblymen and MPs on Wednesday (May 6).

Anwar said that there should be some decorum when expressing views as those singled out for criticism were unable to clarify such opinions.

“We have worked very hard to get the Malay rulers to appreciate this new administration,” he said, adding that such views were “unhealthy”.

Anwar said he will continue to engage with the Malay Rulers on these matters.

The veteran newsman, who is also a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council member, in his personal blog post said that some RM257 million was spent for the upkeep and personal expenditure of Sultan Muhammad V in the 16 months since he became the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Excerpts from Kadir’s post read as follows:

I wouldn’t dare say that the Rulers are so insecure these days about their position that they need to be assured and comforted.

On the contrary I think the Rulers are as confident and assured as ever before. Why shouldn’t they? They are guaranteed by the Constitution, lavishly provided for, wealthy and even Anwar kissed their hands!

For 16 months to April this year, a total of RM256.9 million had been allocated to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for purposes of accommodation, residence and palace, personal items, aircraft and transportation, training and escort equipment, clothing and ceremonial items, gifts and souvenirs, overseas visits and salaries of palace staff.

Kadir concluded his blog by saying that “our Constitutional monarch has nothing to fear if they understand their special position and stick to their duties as spelt out by the Constitution.”

Source: The Star Online