Sultan Ibrahim is my Malaysia's Person of the Year for 2015

Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

ACCORDING to the standards of Time magazine, the so-called Person of the Year need not necessarily be the one who has contributed most to the world or his country within the period but one who has exerted the greatest influence.

So, this Person of the Year can be a good guy or a bad one, and can be an exceptional statesman like Mahatma Gandhi (1930) or an utterly evil one like Adolf Hitler (1938).

In more recent years, Time magazine has tended to be more conser­vative in picking its Persons of the Year, who generally command a more positive public image.

Last year, it picked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her outstanding performance in handling the Greek financial crisis and the European migrant crisis.

I have an inclination to name my own Malaysia's Person of the Year for 2015, and the nominees are:

1. Sultan of Johor: His Royal High­­ness is probably the wisest among Malaysia's state Rulers. He is known for making the most ap­­pro­priate remarks at the most appro­priate timing, choosing a most favourable time to exercise the power in his hands to maximise his influence.

They include his defence of pluralism in the country, assisting needy students overseas, banning e-cigs and criticising the Govern­ment's policies, among others. These statements have generally won the praise of all Malaysians.

Some may call it intervention but others feel that it is essential at a time when the Government's credibility is in question. For sure, His Royal Highness has won more approval than scepticism.

Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has redefined the role of Malay Rulers, who are no longer passive puppets but wield real power.

More importantly, no one has gone against what the Sultan has said or decided.

2. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak: He has been the central figure in the 1MDB and RM2.6bil donation issues that have swept the country during the se­cond half of last year.

The A-G's Chambers, Bank Negara and MACC formed a special task force in the middle of last year to in­­vestigate the issues and there were rumours that Najib would be asked to take leave pending investigation.

In July, the PM hit back and replaced the attorney-general and deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muh­­yiddin Yassin. Najib began to turn the tide in his favour.

He appeared as a victor in the December Umno general assembly, winning thunderous applause from the delegates.

At least he appears to be solidly in command for his remaining term as party president and Prime Minister.

3. Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin: The former DPM used to be regarded as the PM's obedient right-hand man. However, he chose to go against his boss and started to openly question him.

His directions after his dismissal have been ambiguous, as if he was waiting for the right time to strike back.

In the general assembly, he still managed to get some sympathy and applause from his diehard suppor­ters. But as the days go by, Muhyid­din's clout is fast fading into obscurity.

4. Tan Sri Adenan Satem: When the Sarawak Chief Minister says something, he really makes waves.

Ever since he assumed the post, Adenan's remarks and style have set him apart from his peers in Malaysian politics.

He has been fearless championing his causes, like battling corruption, fixing the corrupt bureaucracy, championing for more autonomy for his state, defending the country's multicultural society and speaking and doing what others would not.

In a country known for its murky political environment, Adenan has offered Malaysians a hint of hope. That said, his greatest challenge will be the state election this year.

And Malaysia's Person of the Year for 2015 award goes to ... Sultan Ibrahim of Johor.