King 'never condoned any rally'

By Anis Ibrahim (NST)
17 November, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong never condoned the rally held last Saturday and neither was he agreeable to the way the illegal mass demonstration was conducted.

In an unprecedented public statement issued to reporters at Istana Negara, Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Wan Mohd Safiain Wan Hasan said the King, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, was unhappy with the claim by certain parties that he had backed the Nov 10 gathering.
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong stresses that he had never, whether directly or indirectly, consented to or supported anyone involved in the rally, or with any other activities contrary to our laws,” said Wan Safiain.
“His Majesty is greatly displeased with assertions that he supported last week’s illegal gathering.”
On Nov 10, a coalition of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations calling itself Bersih organised a rally of some 10,000 people, according to an official estimate, to march to Istana Negara with an election reform petition.
The memorandum was submitted by Lim Kit Siang of the DAP, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to an official at the gates of Istana Negara.
Tuanku Mizan was away in Terengganu at the time.
Hadi was later reported as saying that the fact that the memorandum had been received by a palace official showed that the King supported the protest against the country’s electoral system.
In the official statement issued to the media, Wan Safiain said as the country’s para-mount Ruler, it was the King’s responsibility to ensure all citizens obeyed the country’s laws, based on the system of constitutional monarchy set out in the Federal Constitution.
The statement seemed to suggest that the King disapproved of the illegal gathering by the opposition politicians and the NGOs, which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and police had said threatened public order and safety.
Businessmen and petty traders have also come out in public condemning the demonstration, saying it had caused them millions of ringgit in lost business.
“His Majesty hopes that all Malaysians will obey the law and refrain from getting involved in acts which contravene our laws.
“Every Malaysian has a responsibility to preserve public order and maintain the nation’s peace and harmony.
“His Majesty hopes his subjects can strengthen their spirit of brotherhood and unity to build a more prosperous, united and integrated nation,” the statement said.
Wan Safiain, who handed over copies of the statement at Istana Negara yesterday, declined to answer any questions.
He also declined comment on what the palace would do with the memorandum.
Wan Safiain said it was the first time that media representatives were invited to the palace for a press conference.
Traditionally, official communications are faxed to the media, but he said the issue was so “serious” that the palace decided to meet the reporters in person to ensure the statement was delivered.
The King had granted permission for palace officials to hold yesterday’s meeting with the media, Wan Safiain said.
The protesters wore yellow T-shirts purportedly as a mark of loyalty to the King in their march to the palace.
Bersih has called for the T-shirts to be worn every Saturday to commemorate the rally.