Johor crown prince raps ‘writer’, says will stay outspoken

Tunku Ismail maintained that 'spying on' someone’s personal or private communication was wrong and defended his right to speak the truth. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Tunku Ismail maintained that 'spying on' someone’s personal or private communication was wrong and defended his right to speak the truth. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

JOHOR BARU, Sept 12 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Iskandar dismissed yesterday a “writer’s” remark that venturing into political topics would open him and the Johor royal family to criticism.

Tunku Ismail said he believed it is his duty to speak the truth regardless of consequences.

“It seems that my speaking out has ruffled some feathers yet again,” said Tunku Ismail in a 16-paragraph statement, both in English and Malay, on his official Facebook page late yesterday.

Tunku Ismail’s statement at 10.04pm was the second in what was believed to be a reply to veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin’s blog post yesterday that touched on a certain royal house “straying into the political arena where they may get clobbered, their immunity questioned and their status lowered”.

The 34-year-old, popularly called TMJ (the Malay initials for Tunku Mahkota Johor), said he was not worried with such criticism as he has experienced them before.

However, he said his status came from his service to the rakyat in which speaking the truth is considered as one of his duties.

“My status can only be ‘lowered’ once I have failed in my service to them — and in that regard, I believe I have not,” said Tunku Ismail, while addressing the said writer to not concern himself with his ‘status’.

Tunku Ismail also maintained that “spying on” someone’s personal or private communication was wrong and defended his right to speak the truth.

He claimed that his writing was not for the benefit of his ego as he was not speaking out for himself when expressing concern that authorities were allegedly monitoring the Johor royal family.

“Again, I do not speak for myself — I speak so that the rakyat knows the truth. We must speak out when a wrong is being committed,” he said.

Tunku Ismail also posted a brief statement claiming he was not political, about an hour before the latest post.

In both posts, he did not name intended recipient, only referring to person as the “writer”.

Tunku Ismail, known for his outspokenness, criticised the writer for telling him to accept the fact that he is being monitored simply because he was active online.

He explained that the situation was not a simple case of reading what is written on his Facebook page, but had to do with the monitoring of his personal phones, e-mails, and private communication.

“I doubt that this ‘writer’ would appreciate being placed under the same scrutiny.

“If even I, as a member of the royal family can be spied on, what more the ordinary citizens of Malaysia?” he said in reference to claims that it was not just his social media platforms that were being monitored.

Tunku Ismail said he was not speaking against the government and echoed his past stance that Johor’s policy is to support those running the country.

“My words have not always been easy to swallow. But I have always had the country’s best interest in mind.

“Malaysia Baru will need more leaders who are not afraid to speak the truth. It is the only way to avoid our past mistakes.

“I pray that we can all move forward to a better Malaysia,” he said in his ending statement.

Yesterday, Kadir suggested that a certain royal house may be “monitored” for partisan views as it has previously expressed pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) views instead of being neutral.

He did not name the crown prince and ruler, but made allusion to the former who warned the public against “a 93-year-old individual who wants to be prime minister.”

In a Facebook post prior to the May 9 general election, Tunku Ismail had launched a thinly-veiled attack on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and warned Johor voters not to be duped by a “forked-tongue” individual.

He also said changing a country’s fate and improving the system was not by bringing down a government, but by changing it from within.

This week, Tunku Ismail claimed he and his father, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, are “being monitored” through their social media pages by certain parties using covert intelligence systems.

His claim has so far been denied by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), and Deputy Home Minister Datuk Azis Jamman.