Haze forces King to inspect guard-of-honour in banquet hall

KUALA LUMPUR - For the first time in Malaysian history, the opening ceremony of the Parliament was held indoors due to the haze.

The customary inspection of the guard-of-honour was held at the banquet hall of the Parliament building.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah was greeted by Cabinet members before heading off to the Dewan Rakyat to open the first meeting of the first session of the13th Parliament which will go on until July 18.

In his opening speech, the King reminded all Members of Parliament (MPs) to remain loyal to the country and not to attempt activities that may destroy the country.

Declaring the 13th Parliament open, Yang di - Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah said as elected representatives, MPs should preserve and protect the Federal Constitution.

"Do not destroy the country. A country made unstable due to infighting or economic downfall may not be able to rise again within a short span of time.

"Therefore, I call on all MPs to close ranks and work together to develop and prosper the country," he said when delivering the royal address at the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday.

The King said the position of Islam should not be questioned or used by parties for their political interest.

"I call on the people to discard anything that can create disunity and should instead find a common ground to foster and strengthen national unity," he said.

The King said public order and safety, including food security, should be the main priorities of the Government.

He said the Malaysian Government would continue to rectify the gap between the public perception and reality of the level of security of the nation.

"On the international front, the Government will continue its efforts in fighting transborder crime by intensifying strategic cooperation with other countries," he said.

The King said his Government viewed seriously the importance of ensuring food security in light of the agricultural sector, which was affected by climate change and unpredictable global food prices.

"Hence, a holistic approach in developing the agro-food industry will be further pursued, including the opening of four new rice producing areas in the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak," he said.

In combating corruption, the King expressed appreciation for the role played by the Government in driving initiatives to tackle bribery.

"The existence of institutions, laws, policies and mechanisms to combat corruption has made Malaysia one of the reference points for other countries," he said.