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Date: 08 Dec 1999
New state government in Malaysia delayed amid rumoured royal objections
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 (AFP) - The formation of a new government in one Malaysian state has been delayed amid speculation of opposition to it from the local sultan, reports said Wednesday.
The official Bernama news agency said several members of the state assembly in Negeri Sembilan arrived Tuesday for the swearing-in of chief minister Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad and his executive councillors but were told the ceremony had been postponed.
The agency quoted state secretary Mohamed Ali Abdul Samad as saying the swearing-in was only postponed Monday afternoon and assembly members could not be notified in time.
The state secretary said Tuanku Ja'afar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the state sultan and Malaysia's king until earlier this year under its system of rotating monarchy, had agreed to the new executive council line-up.
Sources quoted by the Sun newspaper said the situation might be related to obtaining the sultan's consent for Isa's reappointment as chief minister.
The Star newspaper quoted one assemblyman as saying he had heard "rumblings" that the sultan was unhappy with the list of executive council members. Isa himself denied any interference from the sultan's palace.
Newspapers recalled that in 1990, the then-deputy premier Ghafar Baba visited Tuanku Ja'afar following problems with a new state government.
Nine of Malaysia's 13 states have sultans as hereditary rulers. They elect a national king every five years.
Both the king and the sultans are expected to play a purely ceremonial role. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad moved in 1983-84 and in 1993-94 to curb the powers of the monarch and the local rulers.
Elections for the national parliament and state assemblies were held November 29.