After Johor’s youth runaround, Muhyiddin asks royals to leave policies to government

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur July 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur July 10, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — State rulers are welcome to comment on administrative and policy matters but should allow their state governments to make their own decisions, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

Commenting on rumours that Johor’s rapid-fire changes of positions regarding the new legal definition of youth were due to royal interference, the home minister and Pagoh MP said the incident bode poorly for ties between the state government and the palace.

“I was puzzled how this could have happened as we had a lengthy discussion in the Dewan Rakyat in which all the Johor representatives had agreed.

“We hope the Johor state government can clarify the matter and if needed, the youth and sports minister could meet with the Johor palace as I was told this happened due to the palace’s opinion.

“These are administrative matters, the state should be given the space to execute uniformed policies,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

Muhyiddin said as the government was elected by the people, Pakatan Harapan has to fulfill its responsibilities accordingly.

He said the matter has to be explained to the Johor royalty and had suggested for Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to meet with the royals.

“I respect the royalty’s views, as I myself am not an outsider, from Johor. But we want to ensure that the decisions made by the federal government would be well received and not misinterpreted.

“Johor is under PH as well; we don’t want to see the decision by the PH government that has set youth age at 30, while the state still wants it at 40. People will say we cannot even see eye to eye on the issue of age. That would not seem nice,” he said.

Yesterday, the Johor government withdrew its earlier decision to cap the youth age at 40.

State Youth, Sports, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative committee chairman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali said Johor will follow the federal government’s definition of youth as those between 15 and 30.

Just a day earlier, Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal issued a statement saying Johor will maintain its definition of youth as those between 15 and 40.

Last week, the Dewan Rakyat approved an amendment to the Youth Societies and Youth Development Act, where the age limit of youth was lowered from 40 to 30. The amendment must be approved by the Dewan Negara and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before it becomes law.

The motion to lower the ceiling age for youth, which was tabled by Syed Saddiq in parliament, is expected to be gazetted on December 31, 2021.