JOHOR BARU: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that his first meeting with the Johor ruler since the change in the federal government, has succeeded in establishing a very "frank" communication line between the both of them.
In what is seen as a new dimension between the relationship between Dr Mahathir and Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the prime minister said that there were certain problematic issues that were discussed during their 90 minute private meeting today.
"The Sultan and I discussed problems that are faced by each of us in a free exchange of views.
"I told him about the people's views towards him and he accepted them well. And we agreed that in the future, if there were any problems, I could see him.
"We agreed that if there was any issue that we wanted to communicate (to each other about), we could meet or contact (each other)," Dr Mahathir told a press conference before departing to Kuala Lumpur from the Senai International Airport.
The prime minister had earlier been granted a four-eyed private audience with Sultan Ibrahim at Istana Bukit Serene.
The prime minister, however, refuse to divulge what were the problems that he discussed with Sultan Ibrahim.
"We talked about a lot of problems. But I will not mention it here. It is between him and myself," he said.
The ruler and Dr Mahathir had been previously involved in very public criticisms of each other prior to the change in government during the May 9 general election last year.
In August 2016, Dr Mahathir had criticised the concept of unity
under 'Bangsa Johor' as he claimed that it could lead to residents of
a state to feel superior over other states.
This earned a rebuke from Sultan Ibrahim who famously told off Dr
Mahathir for not knowing the history or background of the Bangsa Johor
In October 2017, Dr Mahathir equated the people of Bugis descent to pirates when referring to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib
Sultan Ibrahim, who is Bugis later admitted to taking offence as he
"felt slighted" by Dr Mahathir's statement.
On another matter, Dr Mahathir refused to admit if there was any discussion with Sultan Ibrahim about the Conference of Rulers election of a new Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 24.
"That is an issue related to the rulers, and it has nothing to do with me," he said when asked if the sultan and him talked about it.
Dr Mahathir said his meeting with the ruler was a pleasant one, and he admitted that he had not formally meet him since he stepped down in his previous stint as prime minister in 2003.
"The last time I met him was when I stepped down (as prime minister) almost 20 years ago," said Dr Mahathir.