News analysis

Test of strength between royal households and Mahathir looms

Sharp exchange of words in public between Malaysian PM and Johor palace raises spectre of constitutional crisis

The resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian as Johor's Menteri Besar could result in an ugly constitutional crisis. ST FILE PHOTO
The resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian as Johor's Menteri Besar could result in an ugly constitutional crisis. ST FILE PHOTO
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The unfolding political crisis in Johor triggered by the resignation of the state's Menteri Besar Osman Sapian this week is threatening to turn into a test of strength between Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government and the country's royal households.

Since Datuk Osman resigned on Monday, Tun Dr Mahathir - whose relations with the country's royalty have long been prickly - and the Johor palace have given sharply different opinions on who will get to decide on his replacement.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline Test of strength between royal households and Mahathir looms. Subscribe