Johor sultan, Dr M agree to be frank with each other

The Sultan of Johor seeing off Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Senai airport after their meeting at Istana Serene in Johor Bahru. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Following their first meeting in Johor Bahru today, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he and Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar have agreed to be “frank and direct” with each other.

“I can communicate with him. We agreed that we can be frank and direct and not hide things from each other.

“He gave his views and I gave mine,” he said at the Senai International Airport before returning to Kuala Lumpur after the 90-minute meeting at Istana Serene in Johor Bahru.

Mahathir said he and Sultan Ibrahim, who previously had differences in opinion, spoke about a number of “problems” but he did not elaborate what these were.

“I gave my views and he accepted them well. We agreed that in future if there are problems, I can call Tuanku.”

He said they both spoke “like normal” and ate and drank tea.

Today’s meeting between the Sultan and Mahathir took place amid speculation the Johor ruler could be the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong under a unique system of rotation among the nine Malay rulers.

The post has been vacant after Sultan Muhammad V announced his decision to step down.

Asked whether they discussed this matter, Mahathir said “(it had) nothing to do with me”.

Following their meeting, Sultan Ibrahim drove Mahathir to the airport in a first generation Proton Saga.

The 1985 car, bearing the registration number “Proton 1”, was a gift to the sultan’s father, the late Sultan Iskandar, who served as the Agong during Mahathir’s first tenure as the prime minister.

Asked about the ride, Mahathir said: “Very good. It was a 34-year-old car that was given by me to his father in Kuala Lumpur.”

He quipped that the car did not break down and that it was a “good endorsement” for Proton.

“Thirty-four and still functioning after 22,000km,” he said, eliciting laughter from the reporters present.