TMJ: I speak out for the people, not my ego

Mohd Noor Aswad

JOHOR BARU: Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has come out strongly against a critic who accused him of being anti-government, saying he is merely putting the country’s interests first.

“Let me be clear - I am not speaking against the government. Johor’s policy is to support those running the country. However, we cannot take this for granted. We must always be vigilant and speak out when a wrong has been committed.

“My words have not always been easy to swallow. But I have always had the country’s best interest in mind. Malaysia Baru will need more leaders who are not afraid to speak the truth. It is the only way to avoid our past mistakes,” the prince said on his Facebook page today.

Tunku Ismail was responding to a writer who claimed that his political statements were putting the Johor royal family at risk of personal attacks.

“A certain writer has spoken out, saying that ‘straying into the political arena’ will put my family and me at risk of being ‘clobbered’ and our status ‘lowered’.

“I have heard these words before. Whether we are ‘whacked’ or ‘clobbered’ matters little to me.

“What does matter to me are my people. My status comes from my service to the rakyat – and I consider speaking the truth as one of my duties. A man’s true status is not the title he holds, but how he is viewed by his people. My status can only be ‘lowered’ once I have failed in my service to them - and in that regard, I believe I have not.

“To this writer, I say, do not concern yourself with my ‘status’ – I will be just fine,” said Tunku Ismail.

He also made it clear that his statements were meant for the benefit of the people, and not his.

“I have no wish to stroke my ego with my writing. Again, I do not speak for myself – I speak so that the rakyat know the truth. We must speak out when a wrong is being committed. This is not a simple case of reading what is written on my Facebook page. It is the monitoring of my personal phones, e-mails, and private communication. I doubt that this ‘writer’ would appreciate being placed under the same scrutiny.

“If even I, as a member of the royal family can be spied on, what more the ordinary citizens of Malaysia?” Tunku Ismail asked. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd