No seat at new king's inauguration for Dr M
Invitation to former Malaysian premier withdrawn
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been snubbed by the country's Malay rulers in the upcoming inauguration of the new king.
This comes amid his increasingly bitter feud with Prime Minister Najib Razak, liberal news website Malaysiakini reported yesterday.
The invitation from the Conference of Rulers to Dr Mahathir Mohamad to attend the installation of the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13 at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur has been withdrawn, the report said, citing Dr Mahathir's aide.
The aide, who was not named, said a letter on the revocation dated Dec 5 was hand-delivered to Dr Mahathir's office at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya yesterday.
Marked "sulit" (confidential) and bearing the signature of the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, the letter says that no seat for Dr Mahathir , 91, would be provided at the event and that he had been informed to spare him any embarrassment.
The letter has been circulated on social media, Malaysiakini reported.
Dr Mahathir responded to the cancellation of his invitation, the news portal reported.
In a blog post, the former premier said he received an invitation last month, and accepted it because he believed it was a national event which is apolitical.
"It turns out that a national event is part of a political party (event)," he added.
Without mincing words, Dr Mahathir also suggested that the cancellation could be related to Mr Najib.
Said Dr Mahathir: "I apologise for making the wrong assumption (that the palace is above politics).
"I will note now that Istana Negara belongs to Najib and BN (Barisan Nasional)."
Dr Mahathir's daughter, Marina, also posted the letter on her Facebook page.
An official with the palace, Istana Negara, declined to comment on the matter or confirm the letter when contacted by Malaysiakini.
No senior officers were available for comment at the office of the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal.
Much attention has been given to the appointment of the next king, following Dr Mahathir's meeting with the incumbent in September to submit a petition signed by 1.4 million Malaysians, calling for the removal of Mr Najib from office over corruption allegations.
Dr Mahathir had said he hoped the rulers will hear the people's voices.
Under Malaysia's unique monarchy system, the hereditary rulers from the nine states on the peninsula take turns to be the country's head of state for a five-year term.
The Conference of Rulers decided in October that Kelantan's Sultan Muhammad V, 47, will be the next king effective from Dec 13, a day after the incumbent, the 88-year-old Sultan of Kedah, ends his tenure.