(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia’s King Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar said he would not entertain any request that may undermine the country’s political stability, in a boost to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration.

“Anyone seeking to play politics should wait for the next general elections,” Sultan Ibrahim said in his first address to the parliament at the opening of the 2024 session in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. “All parties must accept the prevailing order and respect the unity government that has been formed,” he said. The country’s next general election isn’t due until 2028.

The king’s remarks come as concerns over Malaysia’s political stability has re-emerged in recent months with local media reporting that the opposition sought to convince government-allied members of parliament to defect. Anwar has dismissed attempts to destabilize his government as ineffective, while leaders from the opposition have denied being part of such a plot.

Sultan Ibrahim, the ruler of the southernmost state of Johor, took the throne as Malaysia’s king last month, a role that has become increasingly important in determining who holds power in the Southeast Asian nation that has seen prime ministers last an average of less than two years on the job since 2018.

Malaysia must work to narrow its budget deficit and reform its policy on subsidies, the king also said in his speech. 

“I am disheartened upon learning that due to the fiscal deficits incurred since 1998, the government today is bearing an increasingly large debt burden,” the king said. “Such a weak financial position makes it difficult for the government to implement new development projects or provide financial incentives to stimulate economic growth.”

Under the country’s unique constitutional monarchy, the hereditary royals of nine states take turns on the throne. While the position is mostly ceremonial, one important duty is to decide who leads the government when no party has a majority. Sultan Ibrahim’s predecessor did so three times, most recently after the country’s first-ever hung parliament in 2022.

Moody’s Investors Service said last month that entrenched concerns around the government’s stability could hamper Malaysia’s longer-term economic competitiveness.

Anwar still commands a super-majority support in parliament. Recently, half a dozen lawmakers from the opposition coalition said they backed the current government while allies of the prime minister have also urged the nation’s politicians to stop undermining the government.

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