Johor crown prince claims his and sultan’s social media postings being spied on

A screengrab of Tunku Ismail’s Facebook post related to the issue and information on the two monitoring devices used.
A screengrab of Tunku Ismail’s Facebook post related to the issue and information on the two monitoring devices used.

JOHOR BARU, Sept 9 — Johor’s crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has asserted that he and his father, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, are “being monitored” through their social media pages by certain parties using covert intelligence systems.

He claimed that this was revealed to him by officials, which he did not identify, who approached him saying that the Sultan of Johor and himself are being monitored.

“It is not nice when officials come to me saying that my father, the Sultan of Johor, and I are being monitored.

“And that there are cybertroopers planted on JDT and our personal pages such as the Official Sultan Ibrahim and HRH Crown Prince of Johor page, waiting in case there is something that does not go down well with certain higher-ups,” he said in his latest post on his official Facebook page at 10.12pm yesterday.

Tunku Ismail, or popularly known as TMJ (the Malay initials for Tunku Mahkota Johor), also said he was aware of the monitoring system used as the government was also in possession of the device.

He said the device, which is Israeli-made and is used to spy on people and gather intelligence, was also used in the recent pre-election to help in terms of cyber warfare.

“I know the former government used this, but this is supposed to be Malaysia Baru ― it is no place for such practices any longer,” said Tunku Ismail.

In April this year, about a month before the 14th general election, Tunku Ismail launched a thinly-veiled attack on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, without naming him, and warned Johoreans not to be duped by a “forked-tongue” individual.

He urged Johoreans not to support a leader who had stripped the rulers of their power, a reference to the constitutional crisis in the 1990’s during Dr Mahathir’s first administration under Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Don’t change the boat if the engine is not broken, don’t even change the skipper but allow HM the Sultan of Johor and I to work with the skipper,” he wrote, adding that problems faced by the then lynchpin BN party, Umno, could be solved through the palace’s intervention.

The following month, after the May 9 general election, Dr Mahathir was made the country’s seventh prime minister after Pakatan Harapan came to power.

The 34-year-old prince, known for his outspoken opinions, said he was against the idea of spying on the people unless it was related to national security.

“When it comes to national security, I think it is something we need, but these same devices should not be used by individuals for personal gain,” he said, adding that he was also made to understand that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police Special Branch, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Prime Minister's Office have been using the said devices.

Tunku Ismail said he would continue to be vocal as he cared for Johor and will not remain quiet if there are certain parties trying to take advantage of the people of Johor or break the state’s unique unity.

“Let me be clear, I have nothing against the government. Johor has always had the policy of supporting the ruling government.

“That said, we will give our support when the right things are done. Yet we will not be silent when wrongs are being committed,” he said.

Tunku Ismail’s post was accompanied with six screen grabs of images related to the issue and information on the two monitoring devices used.

One device featured is known as Captur, which is designed for off-air interception for cellular communication in GSM networks. The system intercepts and records all outgoing and incoming calls, voice and short messaging system text, to and from the target.

Another is the geo-location tracker called the Observer system for governmental and security organisations that provide real-time data about a targets’ location and movement.

Intelligence and covert agencies are known to use a combination of both systems as a strategic and a tactical interception and location system that provides accurate, real-time data of target suspects and people of interest by tracking their mobile phones.

Other images are screen grabs of WhatsApp groups that claim that there is an agenda by cybertroopers to monitor and counter Tunku Ismail’s new social media pages that was launched last Wednesday.