KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim clarified that his remark rejecting his Malaysian citizenship was made in jest made at the end of a one-hour dialogue yesterday.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president then lambasted local Malay dailies for focusing on the comment that upset local fans, labelling it “cheap gossip” and urging Putrajaya to shut the newspapers down.
“After a dialogue of more than an hour regarding football and current issues, only the joke in my last 20 seconds of my dialogue is trending now,” the prince said in a statement posted online.
In the reports, Tunku Ismail was quoted distancing himself from the national football team after its 0-2 upset defeat to Hong Kong in an Asian Cup qualifying match on Tuesday, in which team captain Safiq Rahim was also sent off.
“That’s your country’s team, not my country. I’m from Johor, you know,” the prince said during a media session in Johor Baru earlier this week. The event was broadcast live on Facebook.
In today’s statement, Tunku Ismail expressed his disappointment with the local press, singling out Malay dailies Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo!.
He claimed millions of ringgit were given by the government to the two titles to “instigate people and write news such as cheap gossips”.
“No one took note of the important issues but the joke or the small talks was given the limelight,” he added.