THE King of Malaysia yesterday urged official action against the playing up of racial sentiment by some quarters in the country and their use of social media to spread seditious content, defamation and extremism in his speech for opening the latest parliamentary session.
Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah also told Malaysian legislators that they should stop playing politics of narrow interests, as this has gone on for so long that it has become stressful for the people and the government, the Bernama news agency reported.
Political leaders should set a good example and together produce ideas that will benefit the people and bring prosperity to the country, instead of attacking each other maliciously, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong added.
"Also avoid smearing the country in the eyes of the international community," said the 88-year-old king, without specifying the "troublemakers" he had in mind.
This came three days after former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad spearheaded the signing of a declaration by 58 representatives demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Najib Razak, the Agenda Daily online newspaper pointed out.
The Malaysiakini online portal noted that Muhyiddin Yassin, the suspended deputy president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) who also signed the declaration, was shunned by his party colleagues at the parliament, forcing him to mingle with the opposition.
Mr Najib, who leads Umno, has been under a cloud since RM2.6 billion (S$878 million) was found in his personal bank accounts, which some overseas reports said was siphoned from the state investment arm 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
Malaysia's social media has been overflowing with criticism of Mr Najib and racist remarks often surface on both sides of the line.
The current sitting of the Lower House will last till April 7, followed by the 17-day-long Upper House, which starts on April 18.
Tuanku Halim will be stepping down this year as Malaysia's head of state upon completion of his five-year term and will be succeeded by one of the sultans or state royalties selected from among the nine in Malaysia.
Get MyPaper for more stories.