Dr M expresses surprise crown prince clueless about plans for Johor shipping hub

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad witnesses the signing ceremony between KA Petra chairman Datuk Shahrul Amirul and Hutchinson Port Holdings Limited group managing director Eric Ip in Putrajaya April 2, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad witnesses the signing ceremony between KA Petra chairman Datuk Shahrul Amirul and Hutchinson Port Holdings Limited group managing director Eric Ip in Putrajaya April 2, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 2 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared baffled today that Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was unaware of plans to build a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer hub in the southern state.

“He is in Johor, other people in Johor know about it but he doesn’t know. He knows many things but this he doesn’t know,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after witnessing the signing between KA Petra Sdn Bhd and Hutchison Port Holdings Ltd at the Le Meridian hotel here today.

The STS hub is set to be the biggest in the world as it will be able to accommodate up to 30 vessels on one point.

Tunku Ismail, better known by the initials TMJ, had yesterday shared a Facebook post originally uploaded by the Gerakan Muafakat Johor group that claimed the federal government is bulldozing its way through project approvals without the state’s knowledge.

Dr Mahathir denied the view that his Pakatan Harapan administration was pushing ahead with projects without the state’s approval or keeping Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian in the dark about the project.

“Yes, the truth is the MB of Johor knows. He met me yesterday and asked me and then I told him, so he knows,” he said.

The PM added: “I thought everyone knew” when asked if Osman was only informed about the project yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said the STS project is one development that would benefit Malaysia.

He said the project was discussed some time ago.

“There were problems when we had Singapore who said we’re encroaching, but we are not encroaching.

“We are in our waters and I think this is public knowledge; I don’t have to go around telling one by one; do you know or not, do you know or not,” he said in response to the accusations.

Dr Mahathir also denied that the government practised cronyism.

In a barbed swipe at his critics, he said that those who claimed companies that stood to benefit from always claimed they were his “cronies”.

“Everyone in Malaysia are my cronies, because I work for everyone; including the Johoreans,” he said.