KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 ― Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin has played down a picture of himself with Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar that he uploaded to his Facebook account recently.

While rumours swirl that the picture signalled a pending election in the southern state ahead of national polls, Khaled told Sinar Harian that he had no ulterior motive in sharing the photo.

“No, don’t speculate too much.

“The Sultan and I always meet. There is no ulterior motive. The visit was only to catch up and talk about issues in Johor like the flood,” the Umno man was quoted saying in a report published today.

The photo carried a cryptic caption in which Khaled expressed his thanks to the sultan for granting him an audience after a long time.

However, Khaled told Sinar Harian that he has regular meetings with the Sultan.

He added that he last met the Sultan earlier this year and that it was only to catch up on current affairs and issues Johor is facing, like the recent floods, and not a potential state election.

Speculations that Johor may hold a state election in Johor have been rife ever since the death of Bersatu’s Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian last December 21 due to the current state government’s one-seat majority in the legislative house.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad from Umno currently leads the state government with 28 seats (Barisan Nasional holds 16 seats while Bersatu has 11 seats and PAS one) while the Opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition controls 27 seats in the Johor legislature.