KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday (Jan 4) hit out at Johor’s crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, saying that the royal does not understand the concept of a federation.
This came after the crown prince pledged to continue speaking up against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s policies, even if this makes him “public enemy No 1”.
During a press conference, the prime minister stated: “He (the crown prince) does not understand the Federation. Perhaps this is because he hadn't been born yet at the time so he does not know, but I was.”
“The (concept of) Federation means that it has power over the entire country and we can’t say this and that can’t be done,” Mahathir was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.
“We have a list of what is under the state and Federation (federal government’s) powers respectively.”
He added: “Nowhere is it stated in the Federation that the federal government cannot comment when the state makes a statement."
The prime minister also noted that the crown prince does not hold any government position.
CROWN PRINCE AT ODDS WITH PUTRAJAYA
The crown prince has a track record of espousing his strong views toward federal government policies, especially via social media.
For instance, he has urged the federal government to invest in healthcare, including reviving a postponed public hospital in Pasir Gudang, instead of spending the money on building a "crooked bridge" between Johor and Singapore.
Just last month, he took issue with Putrajaya’s decision to retain Pulau Kukup as a gazetted national park.
This was despite an earlier decision by the Johor state government to change the status of the island - the second largest mangrove forest in the world - to sultanate land.
The crown prince then stated that “outsiders” should not meddle with matters related to Johor.
In a Facebook post late Wednesday, the crown prince said he really wants the PH government to be successful.
"Some may not like what I say but that’s the challenge. To keep speaking up for the rakyat (people) who can’t,” he said.
"Let me be public enemy No 1 if I have to be. I’m consistent and stand by my principles."
He also urged the PH government to “start governing … stop fighting amongst each other … (and) stop politicising every issue”.