By Aathi Shankar
Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was notably absent from the installation of Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah of Pahang as Malaysia’s 16th Yang di-Petuan Agong.
Of course, pro-Pakatan Harapan media and social media users were quick to pour scorns on Najib with their expert analysis, commentaries, remarks and name-callings.
But generally, most agree that Najib was conspicuously absent following confusion over seating arrangements at the palace.
The blog Another Brick in the Wall reported that until last night, all the seatings were in place according to Tuanku Abdullah’s wish to be done in accordance with the gazetted protocol.
The front row was meant for Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, seated next to is the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and her husband, Port Dickson MP Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The duo was to be followed by Najib and his wife.
The blog claimed that then a member of the royal family found during a late-night check that someone had pulled a fast one to place Najib’s seat in the back row.
Palace was not pleased and insisted that the seats shall be arranged in accordance with the government gazetted protocol.
Then seats were rearranged accordingly and it was left untouched until around 7 am today, July 30, 2019, when an official from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) came in.
The officer requested Najib’s seat be moved and placed in the Orang Besar Pahang row because as Dato Shahbandar of Pahang, Najib could be placed there.
That is the catch here.
Najib will be required to wear the ceremonial clothing of Dato Shahbandar.
Time is too short to do as Najib has to be at the Istana Besar by 8.30am.
The person usually assists him in putting on the elaborate ceremonial sampin had to be brought over from Pekan.
Another Brick in the Wall added that in the royal court etiquette, Najib was expected to respect and adhere to the dress code.
The PMO official threatened that Mahathir would be absent from the installation ceremony should he be seated near Najib.
“The palace refused to compromise on the protocol and succumbed to a last-minute stunt by Mahathir to disrespectfully get his way with the sovereign,” claimed the blog.
When one gets older, one usually gets wiser and more forgiving.
Humility will replace arrogance and inclusiveness would displace exclusiveness.
But that philosophy may not be applicable for Mahathir though.
He can’t see even the slightest sight of Najib Razak?
The latest royal rumble triggered by the PMO may have confirmed it.
Was Mahathir avenging for his past humiliation, with an unabated vengeful hatred?
After all, Najib was the first Umno president and prime minister to defy Mahahtir’s onslaught and push him to the corner.
Najib’s shrewd political game plan embarrassed Mahathir and forced the nonagenarian to embrace his sworn political enemies Anwar and Lim Kit Siang.
Or perhaps Mahathir was so embarrassed to face Najib after learning that all his spinning tales of falsehoods to smear the Pekan MP since 2014 have crumbled.
His lies are now being peeled off one by one.
Evolving evidence at the Kuala Lumpur High Court is fast proving that Mahathir tales were mere lies.
Najib’s corruption case linked with SRC International Sdn Bhd threatens to destroy the whole repertoire of lies and spins that Mahathir has had built to dent his rival’s reputation.
The 94-year-old could sense that his fragile Pakatan Harapan government would collapse if Najib walked out a free man from all the 42 charges of corruption, money-laundering, abuse of power and criminal breach of trust pressed on him.
Mahathir may have realised that he could not emulate the “PM4 manoeuvre” this time around to imprison Najib.
Whatever it is, the royal rumble proves that Mahathir hates and envies Najib.
He may even want to carry his political vendetta to his grave.
Observers suggest Mahathir was using or rather misusing his premiership to take revenge on his rivals.
The nonagenarian has not repented as claimed by Pakatan and its supporters during their 14th General Election campaign, a campaign that will go down in Malaysian political history as the “dirtiest ever”.
Led by Mahathir, Pakatan’s GE14 loathsome campaign was tainted, marred and mired by lies, half-truths, half-lies and spins.
Today all that has come back to haunt Mahathir and company.
He could not run the government with an iron-fisted rule once he imposed as the country’s 4th Prime Minister.
Thus anger and frustration have engulfed and overwhelmed him.
A distressed Mahathir’s end of political days may have been fast-tracked by his own power greed and tantrums.
The fretting 7th Prime Minister picks fights with everyone and anyone he thought was a threat his grand plan to install someone of his choice (many say his son Mukhriz) as the country’s 8th Prime Minister.
Man can plan but elders would say, the Almighty decides.
For time being let’s congratulate and welcome our new King.