SOCIAL media users are happy that Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had a had a frank and warm meeting at Istana Bukit Serene today.
It is no secret that Dr Mahathir had a thorny relationship with the Johor royal house since the days he was prime minister the first time, when Sultan Ibrahim’s late father Sultan Iskandar was still alive.
There had been clashes this time around, even before Dr Mahathir returned to power. In the run-up to the 14th general election last year, he had criticised the multibillion ringgit Forest City project – a joint venture between a company controlled by the Johor sultan and the Chinese company Country Garden.
Just last month, Dr Mahathir and Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim traded barbs after the latter told “outsiders” not to comment on Johor matters following the conversion of Pulau Kurup mangrove island to sultanate land controlled by the royal house.
Therefore, social media users recognised the significance of today’s meeting between Dr Mahathir and Sultan Ibrahim, and praised both men for coming together.
“Daulat Tuanku! This is really meaningful and inspiring for all Malaysians,” KelChai CL wrote on the sultan’s Facebook page, which had shared pictures of the meeting.
Another Facebook user Zizie Yusof was happy to see Dr Mahathir and the Johor palace on good terms.
“Buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih,” he said, using the Malay idiom, which means let bygones be bygones.
“We are of one race and faith, so it is good to be united for the sake of the nation.”
Many others, who also posted comments on Dr Mahathir’s Facebook page, shared the same sentiment.
Syarifaa Syaa Nia said those who had been trying to fan the flames between the prime minister and the Johor royals should retract their words.
“Action speaks louder than words…both (men are) respectable,” she commented.
Ahmad Faezal echoed the sentiment, asking where had the people who tried to drive a wedge between Dr Mahathir and Sultan Ibrahim gone.
Meanwhile, C. V. Jansi Siva commented that both men looked “really cute” together.
Many also commented on Sultan Ibrahim driving prime minister to the Senai airport after the meeting in the 1985 Proton Saga the first Dr Mahathir administration had gifted the former’s late father Sultan Iskandar.
“The power of Proton – brought two legends together,” Ah Too wrote on the sultan’s Facebook page.
Pua K. Hock said Sultan Ibrahim must have remembered his father and the gift that was presented when Sultan Iskandar was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“That’s why Sultan Ibrahim sent Tun M to the airport. It was a gesture of mutual respect,” he said.
On Dr Mahathir’s Facebook page, Kalai Manickavasagar described the gesture as monumental and iconic, and perhaps a sign of the beginning of better days.
Some Facebook users also noted the sound of the first edition Proton Saga’s carburetor in the video showing Sultan Ibrahim driving Dr Mahathir, and admired the car’s good condition despite being 34-years old.
“Whatever people say about the car or the person, we must admit ‘walaupun lama tapi tetap utuh, tahan lama dan superb’ (still prime, indestructible and superb although old),” Izhar MN said.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT