KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak asserted today that his absence from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s installation yesterday was because his seating position was changed early in the morning.
He wrote on Facebook to say he was called at 6.30am and informed he would not be sitting in his previously assigned position as a former PM but with the Pahang nobility instead.
“The ceremonial costume for Pahang nobles and that of former PMs are different. Each position has its protocol.
“By then there was no time to gather the clothes from Pekan,” he said.
Najib’s former special officer Isham Jalil alleged in a news report today that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad forced the change by threatening to boycott the event if Najib was seated near him.
According to Utusan Malaysia, Isham claimed Dr Mahathir was jealous of Najib’s popularity and wanted to prevent the ex-PM from attending.
Separately, the Prime Minister’s Office denied any involvement in the change, saying the matter was entirely decided by Istana Negara’s protocol division.
Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was installed as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara yesterday.