Johor royal calls for cooler heads in Malaysia-Singapore tiff

Ben Tan
Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (centre) with the two individuals, Singaporean Prem Singh (left) and Malaysian Leftenan Kolonel Samsyawal Muhamad (right). — Picture via Facebook

JOHOR BARU, Dec 13 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim indirectly weighed in on the current territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore.

In a Facebook post today, Tunku Ismail featured a picture of him standing in the centre flanked by two other individuals, one from Singapore and another from Malaysia.

“On my right is Prem Singh from the Singapore Special Branch. He has been taking care of me for nine years.

“On my left is Leftenan Kolonel Samsyawal Muhamad from the Malaysian Special Forces (Gerak Khas), who was my sniper buddy when I did my Young Officer's course in PULADA (Malaysian army’s combat training centre) in 2002. He has been working with me for the last three years.

“I don't need to introduce myself, I'm from Johor,” read the two-paragraph post by the 34-year-old heir to the Johor crown, alluding that Johor is caught in between the current territorial row with Putrajaya and Singapore.

Tunku Ismail, or popularly known as TMJ (the Malay initials for Tunku Mahkota Johor), said based on the picture, he stood between Singapore and Malaysia as an example of friendship and working in the same organisation.

“Here I am in the middle between Singapore and Malaysia. The three of us are good friends, working well in the same organisation. I hope the countries can find a solution that is a win-win situation to prosper together and not get entangled in unnecessary issues,” he said.

Recently, tensions between the two neighbours have heightened over claims of maritime and airspace territorial intrusions.

Malaysia has complained of airspace intrusions over Pasir Gudang in Johor, while Singapore has complained of sea intrusions in the waters off Tuas.

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