PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - It was the palace that decided to withdraw the invitation to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's oath-taking ceremony and not the Malaysian government, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Friday (Dec 16).
"I checked on this, and the (cancellation) did not come from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), it was by Istana Negara," Mr Zahid said.
"There were seven people involved in the decision-making process.
"The ceremonial division only received instructions from the palace, so do not blame the division or the PMO.
"If anyone is not satisfied, please seek an explanation from the palace," Mr Zahid told a press conference after launching Immigration Day.
Earlier this month, a letter informing Tun Dr Mahathir that his invitation to the ceremony was cancelled went viral on social media.
In a subsequent post on his chedet.cc blog, Dr Mahathir blamed Prime Minister Najib Razak and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition for the cancellation.
Dr Mahathir said he received an invitation on Nov 10 from the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal to attend the installation of the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13 at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur.
However, his invitation was withdrawn on Dec 6 via a letter from the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal.
The letter said its intent was to spare Dr Mahathir any embarrassment if he attended the event as there would not be a seat reserved for him.