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.

Mahathir scores shocking win in Malaysian Election

  • Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has officially been sworn in as Malaysia's seventh Prime Minister.
  • Dr Mahathir took his oath of office as Prime Minister before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V at the Istana Negara at 9.57pm Thursday (May 10).
  • The 92-year-old was accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
  • This means that Dr Mahathir will be the world's oldest prime minister and the first Malaysian to be premier twice.
  • At a press conference earlier, Dr Mahathir said he would appoint Dr Wan Azizah as deputy prime minister once he is sworn in.
  • Dr Mahathir received the mandate to form the government through Pakatan, which managed to wrest 113 out of 222 federal seats in GE14.
  • Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Sheraton Petaling Jaya Hotel on 10 May 2018.
  • Mahathir Mohamad holds up a document with the signatures of alliance party leaders naming him as the prime minister during a news conference following the general election in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 10, 2018.
  • Najib leaves after a news conference on May 10.
  • Malaysia's outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak (R) speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10 May 2018.
  • Mahathir's stunning defeat of the coalition that has ruled the Southeast Asian country since independence from Britain six decades ago means that, at the age of 92, he will become the oldest elected leader in the world.
  • Official results showed that Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) had won 113 of parliament's 222 seats, clinching the simple majority required to rule.
  • Najib's ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), had 79. Pic: Barisan Nasional party members watch election results updates at the Barisan Nasional coalition headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
  • Supporters of Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister and opposition candidate for Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), celebrate outside the hotel, where Mahathir Mohamad held news conference, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, May 10, 2018.
  • Mahathir told a news conference he expected to be sworn in as prime minister later on Thursday.
  • Few had expected Mahathir to prevail against a coalition that has long relied on the support of the country's ethnic-Malay majority.
  • Mahathir has promised to seek a royal pardon for Anwar if they won the election and, once Anwar is free, to step aside and let him become prime minister.
  • Ethnic-Malay Muslims have long tended to support BN for affirmative-action policies that give them government contracts, cheap housing and guaranteed university admissions.
  • Mahathir's alliance, which counts on urban votes and support from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities, had hoped the veteran Malay leader would win over voters usually loyal to BN. That strategy appeared to have paid off.
  • Mahathir's opposition wrested control of key states Johor and Kedah, and reduced BN's grip in strongholds like Sarawak.
  • Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at SK Titi Gajah in Alor Setar at 10.55am to cast his vote.
  • The Election Commission said voter turnout was at 55 percent out of the total 14,449,200 voters in GE14 as of 1pm on May 9.
  • Dr Mahathir Mohamad is keeping a positive outlook on voter turnout throughout the day.
  • By 5pm May 9, some 70 per cent of voters had cast their ballots for what has been dubbed "the mother of all elections". The latest polls show a neck-and-neck race to the finish for ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH).
  • Voters still queuing up within the compounds of polling stations nationwide for GE14 were not allowed to vote after the 5pm cut-off time but any voter affected can file a petition to demand a re-election.
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib votes at a polling station during the 14th general elections in Pekan on May 9, 2018.
  • Malaysians went to the polls on May 9 in one of the country's closest ever elections which pits scandal-hit Prime Minister Najib Razak against his one-time mentor, a 92-year-old former authoritarian leader.
  • The Barisan Nasional chairman arrived at his polling station Sekolah Sains Sultan Ahmad Shah at 9.20 am together with his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Najib was all smiles when he was greeted by other voters who were present at the station.
  • 9.29am: PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail voted in SK Seri Penanti in Permatang Pauh. After casting her vote, she immediately left and returned to Selangor where she is contesting for Pandan parliamentary seat there.
  • The Barisan chief is in a four-cornered fight for the Pekan seat. (Pic) Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and his wife Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis successfully cast their ballots at the Madrasah Manbail Ulum voting centre at Sungai Nipah Darat.
  • Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo cast their vote at SK Sulaiman in Bentong.
  • PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who is defending his Marang parliamentary seat, arrives at SK Rusila in Marang to cast his ballot.
  • EC staff making final preparations at a polling station at Stadium Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur.
  • An instruction notice for voters is seen at a voting center on the eve of the 14th general election in Pekan, Pahang on May 8, 2018.
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) offers special prayers a day before the 14th general election at a mosque in Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia, May 8, 2018.
  • Women vote during the general election in Alor Setar, Malaysia, May 9, 2018.
  • People boarding buses back to Malaysia. at Singapore's Golden Mile complex on May 8.
  • Supporters listen to a speech by former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad
  • This picture taken on May 8, 2018 shows Malaysians gathering at an election rally in Petaling Jaya to watch a telecast of 92-year-old former authoritarian leader Mahathir Mohamad.
  • Voters queue up in the early morning to cast their ballots at a polling station during the 14th general election in Alor Setar on May 9, 2018.