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Hundreds show support for Dr M outside palace Print E-mail
Friday, 11 May 2018

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: It was a swearing-in with a difference as hundreds of Malaysians and many motorists gathered outside Istana Negara in anticipation of the return of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister of the country.

Media workers and supporters started camping at Istana Negara’s Gate 2 since 3pm yesterday, when they received word that the swearing-in would be held at 5.30pm. The hour came and went but there was no news, only suspense.

The crowds – groups of friends and family members – that came to the palace carried the Jalur Gemi­lang and PKR flags.

While waiting for Dr Mahathir to arrive, they broke out in song, proudly belting out Negaraku and Inilah Pakatan Harapan Kita, sung to the tune of Perajurit Tanahair.

They rushed to catch a glimpse of Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali when they arrived in a tinted black Proton car with the number plate 2020 at 4.40pm.

Dr Mahathir was accompanied by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Mohamad Sabu, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and other Pakatan Harapan leaders.

There was a rush of anticipation every time a vehicle went in and out of Gate 2 of the Istana.

Despite their arrival at Istana Negara, supporters were left guessing what time the swearing-in would take place.

Later, they learned that the swearing-in had been delayed till 9.30pm.

Nonetheless, steadfast supporters continued to wait outside Istana Negara until dark, unwilling to miss the historic moment for the swearing-in of a new government.

Motorists packed the nearby roads, honking their support for the incoming Prime Minister.

Veterinarian Calvin Cheah, 34, was waiting with four family members and friends.

“This is the moment every Malay­sian is eager to see. I want to witness history being made,” he said.

Oil and gas technician R. Rama­chandran, 51, was there to show his support for Dr Mahathir.

“There is a change and I want to celebrate it,” he said, waving a big PKR flag.

At various times, Election Com­mission vehicles could also be seen exiting the gates of the palace.

Gates 1 and 3 were closed off to the public and there was a heavy police presence in the area.

Dr Mahathir was finally sworn in as the seventh Prime Minister at 9.57pm.

The delay in the swearing-in had both local and international media personnel run off their feet earlier, as they shuttled between Istana Negara and Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel several times.

Dr Mahathir had told a press conference earlier in the morning that he was entitled to be sworn in as the new Prime Minister as he had majority support of the elected MPs.

He claimed to have the support of 135 MPs, surpassing the 112 needed for a simple majority.

Senior lawyer Datuk Roger Tan concurred with the Pakatan Hara­pan chairman’s interpretation of the Federal Constitution, citing Article 43(2)(a) which he said referred to support of the majority of MPs, not the party or coalition of the majority of the MPs.

He said since all Pakatan MPs had signed a written declaration to support Dr Mahathir, all government institutions should have immediately given effect to the sacrosanct will of the people expressed through the ballot box.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said he hoped the new Federal Government would be formed quickly as the will of the people had been made clear. I

n Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar decreed that the people’s verdict should be respected and said he was willing to work with the new state government led by Pakatan in Johor.

“I hope a new mentri besar can be sworn in immediately in Johor. I also hope the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will swear in a new prime minister now,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Pakatan wrested Johor from the Barisan by winning 36 of the 56 state seats.

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