Johor sultan takes Dr M to airport in 34-year-old Proton

Dr Mahathir Mohamad being driven to the Senai airport in a Proton Saga by Sultan Ibrahim of Johor. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Johor today made a rare gesture of hospitality to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, by driving the prime minister back to the airport in a first edition Proton Saga.

According to Bernama, 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 Yang di-Pertuan Agong during Mahathir’s first term leading the government.

The Proton car driven by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was seen leaving the main gate of Istana Bukit Serene, with Mahathir seated in the front passenger seat.

Mahathir met the sultan today, his first audience with the Johor ruler since the May 9 elections last year which returned him to the prime ministerial post.

A source told FMT that the meeting lasted 90 minutes and was cordial.

Today’s meeting is significant as the Johor palace had several times publicly clashed with Mahathir.

It also took place amid speculation that the Johor ruler could be the next in line to fill the Agong’s post 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.

The Prime Minister’s Office has however denied that the meeting had to do with the post of Agong.