By SHAMSUL AKMAR / Pic By BERNAMA
Now that the abdication of the Sultan of Kelantan as the Yang di- Pertuan Agong has come to pass, the focus has shifted to who will succeed him.
Next in line, according to the rotation, is the Sultan of Pahang, but it is widely accepted that his health will not permit him to assume the position, therefore it will then automatically fall to the Ruler who is next in line, which is the Sultan of Johor.
Prior to this it was widely speculated that if the Malay Rulers observe the convention, then it is most likely that the Johor monarch will assume the Kingship.
However, a new twist to the tale is taking form.
It is now being speculated that a second abdication is in store, with the Sultan of Pahang giving up the throne in favour of his son, the Regent, to take over.
The rationale is that the abdication will see Pahang having a new Sultan and this Sultan is ready to assume the Agong’s throne, thus keeping the rotation going without a skip.
Otherwise, if Pahang’s “right” to the Kingship is given a pass, then it will be up to 40 years before it will come Pahang’s way again, given that each Agong’s term of office is five years and there are nine Rulers.
It has also been argued that the rotation is not mandatory and that the Rulers will decide in a secret ballot who among them that they prefer.
But in so far as the history of the rotation is concerned, the convention has always been observed.
And the Rulers compliance to the convention of the established rotation is quite prudent as surely, an attempt to scuttle it will result in uncertainties and whether there will be any reason to revert to it in the future.
But all these are moot points which in the first place would not have gotten much attention if not for the issue of the bad blood between the Sultan of Johor and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and it would be awkward to have a Head of State (Nation) who is hostile towards the Head of Government even if the former is deemed a titular head.
Those opposed to Dr Mahathir had been stirring the idea that the prime minister is getting nervous over the possibility of the Johor Sultan becoming the Agong.
The idea is that once Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar becomes the Agong, he will put Dr Mahathir in his place (whatever that means).
Due to that, Dr Mahathir, directly or otherwise, is attempting to interfere in the appointment of the new Agong so that it will not fall into Johor’s way.
Such is the concern of Dr Mahathir’s detractors that one, who is with an IQ of a carrot (at least that’s what his Umno counterpart Oxfordian Khairy Jamaluddin thinks of him) is organising a rally to oppose interference by politicians in the selection of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The rally is two-pronged — regardless whether the organiser is capable to think that deep — if the Ruler they felt should be the Agong is not chosen, then they will accuse interference by Dr Mahathir and/or his administration.
However, if the Ruler of their choice is selected, they can then claim that it was their efforts that stopped the interference.
Of course, anyone with just slightly more grey matter will point out that such rally in itself is an attempt to influence if not impose a will on the outcome of the process.
But such conduct is only expected from such person. But he is not the only one.
Another Umno stalwart who in his younger days when leading the party in Kelantan and was involved in organising a “coronation ceremony” of an alternative Sultan, is also grumbling about hidden hands interfering in the replacement of the Agong.
It is actually quite fathomable for him to theorise as such, given that he is judging others based on his standards or what he is capable of, regardless whether others are way below his league in such department.
These are all, however, sideshows by inconsequential characters trying to remain relevant.
The relevant characters — Dr Mahathir had an audience with the Sultan of Johor yesterday upon the latter’s request. From the photographs that had gone public on social media and those captured by the mainstream media, the meeting was cordial.
What was discussed is between the two of them and will only be known if either or both decide to share with others.
And the Sultan chose to drive Dr Mahathir to the airport himself, in a Proton Saga that the latter had presented to the Sultan’s late father when the national car was produced the first time, which was quite a remarkable sight.
It seems that all the rights cards from the deck are coming Dr Mahathir’s way. They may just turn out to be a Royal Flush.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor at The Malaysian Reserve