KUALA LUMPUR: The Crown Prince of Malaysian battleground state Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, has told his people not to be deceived by the opposition and a “forked-tongue individual” but to instead trust the influential royal family to “guide” the government, in a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday (Apr 7) night ahead of looming polls.
“HM Sultan of Johor and I have agendas and plans. Our main agenda is the state of Johor, but how we reach Putrajaya, we can’t disclose to all of you as it is private and confidential.
“I do not (support) any political party, but in order to change a country’s fate and improve the system, it is not by bringing down a government. We need to change it from the inside,” he wrote.
“Our neighboring countries and I believe that if a ship has been sailing fine for many years but has an issue due to its skipper, do not fix it with a new engine. We stay on the same ship and guide the skipper to where we want to go. That’s all I’m sharing with the people. But the people of Johor must believe in the vision of HM Sultan of Johor and I.”
The Crown Prince also slammed the opposition and its pick for interim Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who held a rally in Pasir Gudang, Johor on Friday night, where it also launched a manifesto for the state.
Johor is the birthplace of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s party UMNO and the state has been under Barisan Nasional rule since independence.
The opposition, is aiming to wrest control of Johor in elections that must be held within weeks – or at least loosen the ruling coalition’s grip on it.
The statement, however, indicates Dr Mahathir, does not have the support of the Johor Sultan and his family – considered to be some of the most influential people in the nation.
“Do not be easily manipulated into believing whatever you heard last night in Pasir Gudang,” wrote the Crown Prince.
“Johor state will never forget that individual who tried to disband the Johor Military Force (JMF) an organisation that has stood since 1886 and that same time, dreaming of diminishing the Sultan’s power, belittling our constitution that has been here since before the inception of the country called Malaysia.”
“I hope the people are not easily fooled by a forked tongue individual. At the moment he is not trying to save the country, he is more worried of what will happen to his children in the future.”
Tensions between Dr Mahathir and the royal family have dated back to when the veteran politician introduced laws that curbed royal powers and stripped them of legal immunity during his 22 years as prime minister.
Last year, a new conflict was ignited when Dr Mahathir criticised the Chinese-backed multi-billion dollar Forest City project in Johor.