By Kurniawati Kamarudin
KUALA LUMPUR — Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s official birthday was celebrated differently this year as Malaysians embraced the new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although all celebrations have been postponed in accordance with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), greetings and well-wishes had been pouring in for the King, both from leaders and the people across the country, as well as from foreign envoys.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, representing the entire nation, was among the first to wish happy birthday to the King via his Twitter and Facebook post yesterday.
“We pray that Your Majesty will be given the strength and blessing to continue to remain on the throne with great dignity, sovereignty and prosperity,’’ he wrote.
Despite the postponement of his birthday celebrations, the Al-Sultan Abdullah is expected to continue with his tradition to inspire and reach out to those in need, such the people at centres for the homeless, orphanage and old folks homes, as the people’s wellbeing has always been the King’s top priority.
The King’s concerns for the people, especially as the country is fighting the war against the deadly coronavirus, were undisputable as he had on various occasions and statements reminded the people to play their roles to maintain discipline and be patience in observing the new normal as underlined by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
The 14-day self-quarantine experienced by Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah after a number of Istana Negara staff were tested positive for COVID-19 was definitely something unforgettable in the country’s history.
In dealing with the effects of COVID-19, the King had also paid extra attention to every effort made by the government to address the impact of the COVID-19, especially on financial and economic matters of the country such as unemployment and most affected sectors of the economy.
The attentiveness shown by Al-Sultan Abdullah is not something new but is well known especially among the people of Pahang as he was the Crown Prince of Pahang for 44 years.
The traits, values and humbleness of Al-Sultan Abdullah were also reflected when he discharged his duties as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong which has brought the multiracial community in the country closer to the monarchy institution.
His Majesty’s willingness to ignore protocol to help accident victims, or even to line up for his turn at a cashier counter of a fast-food restaurant in Pahang, has also gained him much love and respect of the people.
Malaysians will also remember the time when Al-Sultan Abdullah went to the main gate of Istana Negara to treat the media fraternity with food and drinks, during the political crisis in February.
During the early stage of the Movement Control Order enforcement in March, the King had also joined the frontliners to monitor the traffic situation in the capital.
As a symbol of unity, Al-Sultan Abdullah really emphasises on unification and harmony of the multi-racial community in this country and would not let them be fueled with hostility and divide especially due to politics.
Al-Sultan Abdullah’s wisdom has also helped Malaysia come out from the political turmoil following the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the 7th Prime Minister of Feb 24, before His Majesty consented to Muhyiddin’s appointment as the 8th Prime Minister on March 1.
In his Royal Address during the opening of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament recently, His Majesty had also called on the politicians to show their maturity and always try to understand the people’s grievance.
May His Majesty’s personality and reputation as the King who always put the people first will be emulated by leaders in the country in order to make Malaysia a fully developed sovereign country and well-respected by the world. Daulat Tuanku!