On Jan. 10, the meeting between Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, concluded in retro style.
Frank exchange on various issues
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Mahathir said their 90-minute meeting saw a “free exchange of views”, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported.
Mahathir did not elaborate on specific details, but he said: “Many issues were brought up… but that is between his Highness and me.”
Instead Mahathir spoke at length about the nature of the meeting.
CNA reported Mahathir saying:
“I can communicate with His Royal Highness. We agreed that we will be frank… talk openly, with nothing to hide. His Royal Highness had his views… I had my views.”
When asked if one of the issues raised included the election of the next king, Mahathir replied that it was a decision for the Malay rulers and he had nothing to do with it.
The Sultan of Johor also posted about the meeting on Facebook, noting that it was Mahathir’s first meeting with him since becoming Prime Minister once more in May 2018.
Speculation on what happens if the Johor Sultan becomes king
The significance of the meeting lies in the fact that historically, both parties do not see eye to eye.
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that the Sultan of Johor “has been has been embroiled in several spats with Mahathir over the years”.
As such, there has been speculation about the dynamics between Mahathir and the Sultan of Johor should the latter become the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, also known as “King of Kings”.
Today quoted Ooi Kee Beng, executive director of think-tank Penang Institute, who said things could get “tricky” if the Sultan of Johor becomes the next King due to his family’s history of clashing with Mahathir.
However, FMT quoted Azmi Hassan, of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, who dismissed the likelihood of a clash as he did not believe the Sultan of Johor would react to Mahathir in same manner once in the position of Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
This is largely because “there is a clear separation of powers between the Prime Minister and the Agong”.
Of course, there is also the likely scenario that the Sultan of Johor might not even become Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the first place due to new developments in the state of Pahang.
Pahang royal household looks to promote its Crown Prince
On Jan. 10, The Star reported that the Pahang royal council will be convening on Jan. 11 amidst reports that a proposal to install the Pahang Crown Prince, Tengku Abdullah, as Sultan of their state was floated by several influential family members and advisers of the Pahang royal household.
According to the order of succession for the position of Yang di-Pertuan Agong, FMT reported that next in line to succeed Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, followed by the Sultan of Johor, then Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak.
However, the Sultan of Pahang is reportedly ill at the age of 88, according to The Star, which is a potential condition in being deemed ineligible to be king.
Even so, The Star added that under the state constitution, the Sultan of Pahang can abdicate his throne and relinquish his royal rights and powers, opening the way for the Crown Prince of Pahang to succeed the throne.
Once the Crown Prince becomes Sultan of Pahang, he is eligible to be elected as the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong, provided all of these occurs before Jan. 24, when the Conference of Rulers is scheduled to meet to elect the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his deputy.
How is the Crown Prince of Pahang like?
The Crown Prince is reportedly on friendly terms with the Johor royal household.
In January 2018, the Sultan of Johor received a working version of a Flintstones-themed car as a gift from the former.
In November 2018, the Crown Prince also made the call for the wider use of Jawi across Pahang, the Malay Mail reported.
The Crown Prince said the script should be used on road signs, business premises, office signs, government agencies and all state education offices.
He also added that Jawi should be taught in schools until the tertiary level.
Top left image screenshot from Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar Facebook, right photo from UNIKL Hockey Facebook