KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim has asserted the southern state has a right to secede from Malaysia if it finds a breach to the terms agreed upon its membership of the Federation of Malaya.
In an interview with local football portal FourthOfficial titled “The Godfather of Malaysian football” and published yesterday, the prince said that as the future Sultan of Johor, his responsibilities will always go to the state first and its people before Malaysia.
“In fact, we only joined the Federation of Malaya, upon both parties agreeing to several basic terms. And if any one of those terms are breached, we have every right to secede from this country,” Tunku Ismail told FourthOfficial.
“You can accuse me of instigating state-based sentiments, but to me, I’m merely doing my duty to the people of Johor, and reminding them of the history and heritage behind this great land.”
The interview was also reposted in both English and Malay on the official Facebook page of the state football club Johor Southern Tigers, of which the royal heads.
Tunku Ismail also said the Johor royal family should not be associated with “the mess” currently affecting the country, adding that it has always been strong, independent and resourceful.
A similar call was made in June by Tunku Ismail’s brother, where he cautioned on photo-sharing platform Instagram that the southern state may secede from Malaysia.
In the post, Tunku Idris Ibrahim issued a reminder that the Johor government had joined the Malay federation in 1946 on several conditions.
Among the conditions listed included making Islam the religion of the state, the state’s absolute right over water and land issues, and the state royal house to have its own armed forces.
The call for Johor’s secession has been picking up steam online, with social media posts depicting pictures of imaginary Johor currencies—Johor dollar and Johor dinar—going viral earlier this month.
Tunku Ismail has been a vocal critic of Putrajaya, and was embroiled in a public spat with Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz after the Umno minister reportedly told the Johor crown prince to stay out of politics or Putrajaya will “whack” him.
He had commented on Facebook on June 5 about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s absence at the “Nothing to Hide” forum that was cancelled at the last minute before a confrontation between Najib and his harshest critic, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.