Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Is there more to the abdication and replacement of Agong?

Something really happened on January 2nd.

It was the day rumour began to spread of DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong would abdicate the Agong-ship to return as Kelantan Sultan.

It came about when the Council of Rulers was to meet for an unscheduled additional day.

There were the denial from the Kelantan state government with warning on circulating fake news. The Palace made a press release on His Majesty resuming duty.

His Majesty was seen at Friday's prayer in Kota Baru. By Sunday January 6th, it was no fake news. Palace issued statement to confirm the abdication.

The question being asked is: WHY? One blame is on the Malaysia Baru government.

There are views that lay blame on the Agong. Despite the AG not honouring the separation of power and selective in upholding law such as the Sedition Act, it is disrespectful on a Malay ruler to share.

Former AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali gave a constitutional clarification on a rumoured reason.

Before the ascension to the throne, there were talk then that it would not be the Sultan of Kelantan. His Majesty selection did came as a surprise.

Then the question: WHO TO REPLACE? 

Six Sultans met to discuss and announced the next Council of Ruler meeting to select the new Agong on January 25th.

Talk of an announcement on January 9th will not likely to happen. The abdication has no precedent but according to Isham Jalil, a successor will be elected before February 3rd.

Tuanku Nazrin of Perak is logically high on the list. Tuanku Ahmad Shah of Pahang should be next in the rotation but is ill. Tuanku Ibrahim of Johor have been heard for few weeks.

The selection is done in secrecy and no political interference possible. The Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir could not interfere.

The Star's Dato Wong Chun Wai, who was given the honour to interview with the Sultan of Johor. explained the rule of the rulers.

Initially. Mahathir denied knowledge of the abdication, then claimed to have heard rumours.

His announced meeting on Thursday, January 10th raised the odds for Johor as next Agong. Even the stock market speculated it to be Johor as Damansara Realty Bhd shares rose sharply. 

Off course, the next question being asked is: WHAT IS TO HAPPEN AND WHETHER IT WILL DISRUPT MAHATHIR'S GAME CHANGER? 

Before the general election, the Sultan of Johor explicitly expressed his displeasure with the former Prime Minister but now present Prime Minister.

Mahathir did criticised the Sultan's pet project, Forest City and His Majesty reacted in a no holds barred manner.

Underlying their differences is His Majesty's effort to bring pride back to Johor by reviving the past identity of Bangsa Johor.

Mahathir do not take well of GLC CEOs attending political rallies and participating in a musical band in support of BN government. What about royalties critical of him?

Mahathir still harbour ill feeling with Johor Crown Prince supportive statement for BN during GE. He recently lambasted Tengku Ismail for not understanding how the Federation works.

His blog posting on rule of law during the council of rulers meeting raised the suspicion he was pre-empting the appointment of the Sultan of Johor as new Agong.

There are those with the conspiracy theory that the abdication of the Sultan of Kelantan and replaced by Sultan of Johor is pre-planned.

It could be the basis to Dato Lokman Noor Adam's prediction in the video below:

Another political conspiracy theory going around is that it is to make way for Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim to replace Mahathir.

While it was reported that Anwar visited Mahathir and said to give him space to lead the government, the pose is not of comfort.

Anwar have been projecting himself as close and cordial with Tuanku Ibrahim. Sources claimed he met to ask Mahathir to "abdicate" by March.

It is too bold to be believable but two days after the meeting, he told foreign press of attempt to sabotage the succession plan.

There was a swift reminder from Dato Abdul Kadir Jasin to learn from history.

With the Sultan of Kelantan out of the way, the rule of law may be uphold, Anwar's pardon reverse, and with Azmin on the wing, spells the end of his political career.

Nevertheless, several analysts do not see any Mahathir-palace tension if the Sultan of Johor is Agong.

The political speculation in Johor is that the three Johor UMNO assemblymen that crossed over to PPBM and enable PPBM the MB's post was arranged by Dato Daeng Malek, former Head of UMNO Kota Tinggi Division.

He is a close friend of the Sultan and the 51% shareholder of Damansara Realty, which used to be majority controlled by Johor Corporation.

A possible olive branch from the Sultan.


Some seven months ago, after BN lost, former Kempas, Johor assemblymen reminded his repeated advise for "the palace to stay away from politics and business to avoid the abuse of power and possible backlash by the rakyat".

He partly attributed UMNO's lost in Johor to the people's disgust of palace involvement in politics.

The Sultan may have heed that advise and quietly reverse a recent controversial decision involving the Palace.


Whether there will be friction and exchanges between the new Agong and PM, a former judge confided that it all boils down to political expediency.

And, that is not good for the country.

The Monarch is supposed to be another check and balance on any abuse of power.

However, not much power is left for the Agong to play such role after Mahathir's series of constitutional amendment in the late 1980s.

Mahathir made known that the power of Sultans will not be revived. The Prime Minister's Office aka ruling party handle the Palace affairs, prepare speeches for Agong under voice of the state and audience with Agong need their clearance.

Before GE 14, Sultan of Johor publicly raised issues with the constitutional amendments made to curb the power of Sultan.

Nevertheless, royalties could actively involve in public engagements and be an avenue for rakyat to express their concern and grievances.

With rising cost of goods, withdrawal of government subsidies and assistance, and lost of job together with diminishing income, majority of rakyat is on the brink of poverty.

At the same time, many Special Perompak Vehicle schemes are in play on various GLCs, other than LTH.

The leadership and royals should take account that excessive politicking is already bad for the country.

More so, with PPBM admitting they intend to win the next election by hook or by crook and demanding public work to finance their political operations.

Be it through political leadership and government machinery or representatives in Parliament or Senate or State assembly, or even through royals, the concerns and welfare of the people should be the supreme priority.

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