Veteran editor alleges several Malay sultans tried to stop Mahathir from becoming PM again

Veteran editor alleges several Malay sultans tried to stop Mahathir from becoming PM again
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was said to have been offered the prime minister's post soon after the polls in May, which she turned down, as the four-party PH had agreed that Dr Mahathir would be the prime minister.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

KUALA LUMPUR - Several Malay sultans tried to stop Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from becoming prime minister after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance won the May 9 general election, veteran editor A. Kadir Jasin said, a claim that could raise tensions between the Malaysian rulers and the five-month old PH government.

Datuk Kadir, who is currently Prime Minister Mahathir's adviser on media and communications, wrote in his personal blog on Wednesday (Oct 10) that he was raising this now, after Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said on Tuesday that the Malaysian King had offered her the prime minister's post soon after the polls in May.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah said she did not take up the post, as the four-party PH had agreed that Dr Mahathir would be the prime minister.

Under Malaysia's unique rotational system among the nine Malay royal houses, each sultan takes turns to be the Malaysian king for five years. The current King is Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan.

Mr Kadir said he was writing about the issue in his capacity as a blogger, and not as a media aide to PM Mahathir.

"It is common knowledge that several sultans were explicitly and implicitly campaigning to stop Mahathir from returning to the political arena," Mr Kadir wrote. "I support Wan Azizah for repeating what happened because it explains and confirms the guesses of many people on the night of May 9 and May 10, 2018."

Mr Kadir, 71, did not mention the names of the alleged rulers who tried to block Dr Mahathir from becoming premier again.

Mr Kadir added: "Every word spoken and the body language exhibited at that critical moment must be recorded officially as a guide for the present government, as well as a sign for future generations."

He noted in his blog that three months before the May polls, the Kelantan palace stripped Dr Mahathir of a royal title issued to him by the previous Kelantan sultan. "Revoking the title is seen as a rejection of Mahathir by the Kelantan palace," Mr Kadir said.

Mr Kadir is a supreme council member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia headed by Dr Mahathir.

He was group editor-in-chief of News Straits Times Press between 1988 and 2000 when Dr Mahathir was prime minister for the first time, and later ran a magazine publishing company.

Mr Kadir stepped down as media and communications head of the Council of Elders appointed by PM Mahathir in June, just days after the veteran newsman put up on his personal blog what he claimed was government spending totalling some RM257 million (S$85.4 million) on the upkeep of the current Malaysian King in the year since Sultan Muhammad V took up the King's post.

That post was seen as an insult to the King by some in Malaysia, as data on government spending on the royal houses are not made public.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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