Johor part of Malaysia, says Dr M as spat with palace continues

Dr Mahathir Mohamad gives a thumbs up sign next to a Proton Iriz at the Malaysian Autoshow 2019 in Serdang.

SERDANG: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says there is no question of meddling in Johor’s affairs as suggested by the Sultan of Johor yesterday, as a spat continues between the prime minister and members of the Johor royalty over the power to appoint a new menteri besar.

“I feel that Johor is part of this country. Unless, of course, it is a foreign country. I don’t interfere in internal affairs of foreign countries,” he told reporters at the Malaysian Autoshow 2019 here.

Yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar urged “certain parties” to stay out of the state’s affairs.

“Do not interfere in state affairs because it is a sovereign state which has a ruler,” he said.

This followed a series of social media posts by crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who said the palace has the final say in the appointment of a new menteri besar to replace Osman Sapian who resigned earlier this week.

Mahathir also repeated his claim of attempts to pit the government against the monarchy today, saying criticism over Putrajaya’s initial decision to ratify the Rome Statute was merely an excuse to bring down the government.

“But it will not succeed,” he said. “It will fail. They can try their luck. This government is elected democratically, elected by the people. You can’t just get rid of the government.

“Unless you want to drop democracy and become kleptocracy or an autocracy.”

‘Losers keep quiet’

Meanwhile, Mahathir, who is also PPBM chairman, shot down a suggestion by Johor Umno chief Hasni Mohamed to appoint Muhyiddin Yassin as menteri besar.

“It is the winning party that names the menteri besar, not the losers. Losers keep quiet.”

He added that the party is looking at other candidates for the job.

Muhyiddin, the current home minister, was Johor menteri besar from 1986 to 1995 during Mahathir’s first term as prime minister.

Speculation is rife that PPBM will choose either Bukit Kepong assemblyman Dr Sahruddin Jamal or Puteri Wangsa assemblyman Mazlan Bujang to replace Osman. Both are part of the Johor exco.