The PM abstained from criticising the Johor Ruler, but he did not hold back his views on the prince, to an extent of calling him ‘stupid’
by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) has described Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim as a “little boy” who should stop making comments on matters beyond his knowledge.
While the 93-year-old abstained from criticising Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, he did not hold back his views on the prince, to an extent of calling him “stupid” for the latter’s outburst on social media recently, the latest being on a land dispute in Bukit Chagar involving the Rapid Transit System (RTS) project.
“I don’t want to comment on the Sultan. If I say anything that is not good it is not nice, because he is the Sultan. But this TMJ (Tunku Ismail), he is a little boy,” Dr Mahathir said during a media interview in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s first-year anniversary as the federal government.
“He is stupid because he does not know what is happening. So, don’t talk. If you don’t know anything, don’t talk,” Dr Mahathir said, when asked about Tunku Ismail’s recent remarks that contributions from the Palace of Johor were not given due credit.
Last week, it was revealed that a plot of federal land designated for the Johor Baru-Singapore RTS was transferred to the Ruler. Sultan Ibrahim has since said he was prepared to surrender the land without cost.
The 4.5ha Bukit Chagar land, which will house the RTS station in Johor Baru, is said to be one of two land plots under the ownership of the Johor Sultan — the other being a 2.4ha piece of undersea land.
It was estimated that the acquisition of these land plots would cost the government RM693.7 million to acquire, which is about 13% of the overall project cost.
The crown prince claimed that the Johor royal family was a victim of “character assassination” and was being wrongfully condemned for the RTS project.
The relationship between Dr Mahathir and the Johor royalty appears to have worsened following the resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian as the state mentri besar (MB) and Putrajaya’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
On the federal decision to abandon the ratification of the international treaty, the elderly statesman said the government will review the Rome Statute, as well as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to see their “compatibility” with the local culture.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir has confirmed that there will be no Cabinet reshuffle, despite giving his team a score of five out of 10.
“I am very conservative. I have been in the government for 22 years and I know how the government functions, but these people (ministers) are new, they do not know how a government functions. But they are learning very fast. Sometimes, they come to me because I have the experience. I have to teach and guide them so that they can perform,” said Dr Mahathir.