From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Few of the world’s recent kings have had such a muted send-off from their own people as Mahmood Iskandar of Malaysia, who died on January 22, at his palace in Johor, aged 77. Iskandar was Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or king, between 1984 and 1989 under the country’s peculiar monarchy, where the nine traditional Malay sultans take turns as head of state.

An official statement paid tribute to Iskandar’s ”priceless contributions during his lifetime”. Obituaries in the tightly controlled press referred obliquely to his ”mercurial” ways. It was left to Malaysian bloggers – now being hunted down by the powerful political police, the Special Branch – to mention what every Malaysian knows. In 1987 a caddie at the Cameron Highlands golf club was unwise enough to laugh when Iskandar missed a putt. The king clubbed the man to death. The news was suppressed and at the time all the Malaysian royals had legal immunity.

Since Iskandar’s death, more incidents have been exposed: how he would pull over and spray with Mace anyone who overtook his Rolls-Royce; how he chained two policemen in a dog kennel, and other offenders to his dignity were made to do squat jumps; how hotels and clubs around Johor would hide their young female staff away when Johor royals turned up.

The full article, by Hamish McDonald, is a great read.