‘His Majesty will set it right’: Optimism over Malaysia’s new king as Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim is sworn in

'His Majesty will set it right': Optimism over Malaysia’s new king as Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim is sworn in

He noted that in recent times, the relationship between the different ethnic races in Malaysia has been tense, perpetuated by polarised political differences, and that the Johor Sultan will be the right person to unite the masses. 

“Presently, we can see the relationship between the races are beginning to fracture,” said Mr Hussein. 

“But I do believe that His Majesty will set it right to unite all people of Malaysia as one Bangsa Malaysia,” he added. 

Mr Teh, the South Johor SME Association advisor, said Sultan Ibrahim could also improve Malaysia’s bilateral relations with some foreign countries through soft diplomacy, given his strong personal friendship with international world leaders. 

“His Majesty … has very good international diplomatic connections, especially with Singapore,” said Mr Teh. 

“We believe and we also hope that he can make Malaysia the choice to attract more foreign direct investments,” he added. 

Political analyst Adib Zalkapli, director of public policy consulting firm BowerGroupAsia, told CNA the role of the monarch in Malaysia has evolved over the years.

He noted that previously, the king played a symbolic role as head of state. However, especially during the reign of Sultan Abdullah over the last five years, the king has been crucial in resolving political stalemates in Malaysia. 

For instance, Sultan Abdullah played a key role in resolving the political impasse after the last 2022 general election ended in a hung parliament, when he appointed Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister to lead a unity government.

Mr Adib noted that Sultan Ibrahim’s outspoken style and willingness to lend advice in government matters means that the ruler would further shape the role of the monarchy.

“Sultan Ibrahim has always played a key role in the governance of the state. And I think with the expansion of the role of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong that we’ve seen over the last five years, it fits very well with Sultan Ibrahim’s character and style of ruling,” said Mr Adib.

“So it wouldn’t be a big surprise to Malaysia in general to see a more assertive monarchy in the coming years.”