Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been snubbed by the country's Malay Rulers in the upcoming inauguration of the new King, amid his increasingly bitter feud with incumbent PM Najib Razak.
The invitation from the Conference of Rulers to Dr Mahathir Mohamad to attend the installation of the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Dec 13 at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur has been withdrawn, Malaysiakini reported on Thursday (Dec 8), citing Dr Mahathir's aide.
The aide, who was not named, said a letter on the revocation dated Dec 5 was hand-delivered to Dr Mahathir's office at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Wednesday.
Marked "sulit" (confidential) and bearing the signature of the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, the letter says that no seat for Dr Mahathir would be provided at the event and that the former premier was being informed of this beforehand to spare him any embarrassment.
The letter has been circulated on social media, Malaysiakini reported. Dr Mahathir's daughter Marina also posted the letter on her Facebook page.
Dr Mahathir confirmed in a post on his blog on Thursday that he had received a letter saying he's been "uninvited".
"Turns out that a national event is part of a party's politics," he said. "I apologise for making the wrong assumption. I will bear in mind that the national palace belongs to Najib and the Barisan Nasional party."
An official with the palace, Istana Negara, declined to comment on the matter or confirm the letter when contacted by Malaysiakini.
No senior officers were available for comment at the office of the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal.
Much attention has been given to the appointment of the next king, following Dr Mahathir's meeting with the current king on September to submit a petition signed by 1.4 million Malaysians calling for the removal of Mr Najib from office over corruption allegations.
Dr Mahathir had said he hoped the rulers will hear the people's voices.
Under Malaysia's unique monarchy system, the hereditary rulers from the nine states on the peninsula take turns to be the country's head of state, or Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for a five-year term.
The Conference of Rulers decided in October that Kelantan's Sultan Muhammad V, 47, will be the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong effective from Dec 13, a day after the incumbent, the 88-year-old Sultan of Kedah, ends his tenure.