Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar should meet over the Forect City project in the state and the construction firms from China who are developing it.

“I humbly propose that Mahathir and his highness meet eye to eye, and I believe that both can find a common ground in the matter,” said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Syed Saddiq said the matter should be handled with tact and professionalism instead of turning the issue into a polemic. He said leaders having different opinions on such matters can be resolved amicably.

He said that the matter is also important to the sovereignty and prosperity of Johor, which must be discussed seriously by both leaders.

Syed Saddiq argued that a meeting between the two respected national leadership figures will be more useful than the actions of some who hurl invectives at the Johor Sultan, or that of those who are calling for Mahathir’s arrest.

The Bersatu Youth chief said that a meeting was best instead of allowing the disagreement to lead to rift between the former PM and the Sultan, and forcing others to take sides.

Mahathir had spoken out against the Forest City development project, claiming that it may lead to foreign ownership of Malaysian land and an influx of property buyers from mainland China, warning that it may lead to the loss of sovereignty.

The Sultan had reportedly hit out at the ex-premier, asking him to stop sabotaging the state’s economy and the China-bashing.

Mahathir defended himself, saying that he was only quoting concerns raised in a report by Bloomberg and was prepared to face any consequence.