Sul­tan Ibrahim: I know what’s best for my peo­ple

New Straits Times - - News -

Ques­tion: There are peo­ple from out­side Jo­hor who are try­ing to “ad­vise” the peo­ple of Jo­hor. What is your view on this? An­swer:

My ad­vice for the peo­ple from out­side Jo­hor, whether they are in pol­i­tics or oth­er­wise, is do not in­ter­fere in Jo­hor’s mat­ters. I know what is best for my peo­ple as I look at them not in the political sense. I love my peo­ple. When out­siders come and di­vide the peo­ple of Jo­hor, or Jo­hore­ans who live in Kuala Lumpur and have political am­bi­tions re­turn to di­vide the peo­ple, I say ‘Get lost, you are not wel­come here’. When their political am­bi­tions do not come true, those who lose out are the peo­ple.

Q: How do you see Jo­hore­ans who are with the op­po­si­tion?


There are ar­eas un­der op­po­si­tion mem­bers who have been in power for more than 10 years. I want to see de­vel­op­ment in the con­stituen­cies they rep­re­sent. They can’t be mak­ing prom­ises and not de­liver. I un­der­stand there would be no checks and bal­ances with­out the op­po­si­tion. There are times when I put my­self in a po­si­tion to look into the re­al­ity of things. If it’s black, I will say black, if it’s white, I will say white. I al­ways check to make sure things are in or­der. Al­ham­dul­lah, the gov­ern­ment lis­tens to me.

Q: There are Jo­hore­ans who seem to be­lieve in a claim that you have sold land.


I sold land? If I tell you that I have bought land, you won’t be­lieve me. Pre­vi­ously, when they wanted to build so­phis­ti­cated build­ings like the CIQ, the crooked bridge and to re­claim land, who sup­ported them? Not me. A premium of RM1 does not make sense to me. It is true in Tan­jung Puteri there were two en­dorse­ments for two com­pa­nies or in­di­vid­u­als with a premium of RM1. The land was val­ued at less than RM100 mil­lion, but I paid RM300 mil­lion. I over­paid. No­body knew. Ask the land of­fice. I did not take the land for free and sell it. I set up a joint ven­ture and made my prof­its. Don’t be jeal­ous with the prof­its I made. I never sell any land. Any land that peo­ple buy can’t be taken away. The one who ben­e­fits is the gov­ern­ment. Taxes are im­por­tant as there will be as­sess­ments and rent col­lected. Jobs will be cre­ated and re­tail­ers will come in. Look at th­ese things in­stead of the neg­a­tive things. Re­tail­ers look at th­ese things. Th­ese are what the gov­ern­ment will get. We are not giv­ing away Malaysian cit­i­zen­ship. The one who came up with the Malaysia My Se­cond Home con­cept is not

me. Go ask the per­son who came up with it.

Q: If Jo­hore­ans are in­flu­enced (by a claim that the ruler sold land), does that mean that they do not love you?


For Jo­hore­ans who are in­flu­enced, it is like they have com­mit­ted trea­son. All my hard work, my love, my ef­forts in vis­it­ing the dis­tricts ev­ery year, if this is what they show me, it is like they have com­mit­ted trea­son.

Q: Re­gard­ing the For­est City project, the free­hold sta­tus is ac­tu­ally re­lated to the strata ti­tle of the build­ing?


The free­hold is ac­tu­ally the strata, not for the land. The com­pany owns the free­hold land, not the buy­ers.

Q: Maybe there are some who don’t un­der­stand this is­sue or it has been twisted by some quar­ters.


Give it a rest. If I wanted to hide or lie to my peo­ple, why would sign­boards be put up there? Use your brain. If they want to come and live in Jo­hor, I would wel­come them.

Q: In con­junc­tion with your birth­day, many peo­ple will wait to re­ceive ti­tles from Jo­hor. What about this year?


Jo­hor ti­tles and medals are the most dif­fi­cult to get. When my fa­ther was alive, he would ask the gov­ern­ment to con­duct the first vet­ting process, the Jo­hor Coun­cil of the Royal Court to con­duct the se­cond vet­ting process, and the Tunku Mahkota Jo­hor, who was me at the time, to con­duct the third round of vet­ting.

So, I vet­ted the list af­ter it went through the state gov­ern­ment and the Jo­hor Coun­cil of the Royal Court be­fore the list was pre­sented to the sul­tan.

My fa­ther used to ask me, ‘Yem, have you checked all of them?’ I would say ‘Yes, Bah’. It would be checked three or four times, and then my late fa­ther would sign it.

Un­der my reign, it will be more dif­fi­cult to ob­tain (the ti­tles). Dur­ing my late fa­ther’s reign, ti­tles and medals were his sole pre­rog­a­tive. It was his right to be­stow and no one could rec­om­mend any name.

The Jo­hor Coun­cil of the Royal Court can­not rec­om­mend any­one un­less the ruler sought the coun­cil’s opin­ion (on a can­di­date).

A can­di­date will un­dergo po­lice se­cu­rity vet­ting.

Umno, MCA, PPP, DAP and all political par­ties will send a list of can­di­dates.

We look through the can­di­dates and how long they have been mem­bers.

Some of them have been Umno or MCA mem­bers for close to 40 years, but that does not mean that they will re­ceive a ti­tle or medal.

They do not play any role as they are mem­bers who merely vote.

Can­di­dates among mosque com­mit­tee mem­bers, imam and vil­lage heads are also scru­ti­nised.

We will see if a per­son has served as vil­lage head for five years and is aged 60, or a mosque com­mit­tee mem­ber who has served 10 years. For in­stance, an Umno mem­ber who has been a mem­ber for 30 years, we might ap­pre­ci­ate their con­tri­bu­tions.

But if they are be­low 45 or if they have only been a party mem­ber for fewer than seven years, even if he is a depart­ment head or in the Jo­hor civil ser­vice, he is not qual­i­fied to be given a ti­tle.

A Pin­gat Ibrahim Sul­tan II (PIS) or Pin­gat Sul­tan Ibrahim II (PSI) re­cip­i­ent must serve at least 25 years and should not be younger than 45.

The Medal For Merit and Long Ser­vices is for mem­bers of the Jo­hor Mil­i­tary Force. The Medal For Long Ser­vices and Good Con­duct for Gov­ern­ment Of­fi­cers is for those who have served no fewer than 25 years.

The Pin­gat Lama Pek­er­jaan or Pin­gat Jasa Pek­er­jaan for sol­diers and for gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers must be given to those who served no fewer than 28 years.

That de­pends on the back­ground check. We check their life­style and vet them with the po­lice.

The Most Hon­ourable Or­der of the Crown of Jo­hor and Most Ex­alted Or­der of Sul­tan Ibrahim Jo­hor are given de­pend­ing on a per­son’s con­tri­bu­tion.

Un­der Ar­ti­cle 7(2)(f) of the se­cond part of the State Con­sti­tu­tion

1895 and Statutes and Or­di­nances of An Or­der, I may award to per­sons who have ren­dered ex­tra or im­por­tant ser­vices or to those whose tal­ents, virtues, loy­alty or ser­vices have mer­ited royal favour.

In Jo­hor, ti­tles and medals are not for sale. There are no agents to ob­tain them.

When my birth­day ap­proaches, many agents claim to sell Jo­hor datuk­ships.

Some peo­ple be­lieve that Jo­hor ti­tles can be bought and sold.

They are gullible, so it’s their own do­ing.

My ad­vice is, you must re­mem­ber that Jo­hor datuk­ships, medals and ti­tles can­not be bought.

I will is­sue a de­cree through the Jo­hor Coun­cil of the Royal Court. This year, for in­stance, I might award only one or two datuk­ships.

My Or­ders bring with them the ti­tle of Datuk and only the most qual­i­fied will re­ceive them, based on their con­tri­bu­tions.

I’ve been in­formed that some quar­ters have formed an as­so­ci­a­tion for Datuks from out­side Jo­hor.

In Jo­hor, there are no such clubs or as­so­ci­a­tions for Jo­horean Datuks. They are not given any em­blem for their ti­tle to be dis­played on cars or sta­tionery.

Q: Of late, there have been re­ports about Datuks and Tan Sris who are in­volved in un­healthy ac­tiv­i­ties.


In Malaysia, if I were to close my eyes and throw a peb­ble, it may hit the head of a Datuk and that same peb­ble may bounce off the head of an­other Datuk, and if luck has it, it may also hit a Tan Sri.

Last year, there were 62 Tan Sris. It’s easy to get a Tan Sri. There were agents who came to see me

and told me that I have Tan Sri quo­tas for sale and wanted to give me RM2 mil­lion for the ti­tle.

I told the agent, who I do not wish to name be­cause it would be em­bar­rass­ing, to get lost. I do not sell ti­tles.

What hap­pens in other states does not con­cern me. I do not wish to get in­volved and it is not my right to com­ment on it. I only look at what hap­pens in Jo­hor.

An­other unique thing about the datuk­ship from Jo­hor is that if the per­son does not like it, he can give it back.

Any­one who gets a ti­tle from Jo­hor can re­turn it and I will ac­cept it back with a sin­cere heart.

If they feel they are no longer qual­i­fied to up­hold the ti­tle from Jo­hor, they can give it back. Those who feel the heat know who they are.

Jo­horean Datuks of the Malay race and who pro­fess the Mus­lim re­li­gion are in­cluded as mem­bers of the Coun­cil of the Sup­port­ers of the Coun­try whose re­spon­si­bil­ity is to con­firm the heir as the suc­ces­sor fol­low­ing the death of a ruler.

A mem­ber of this coun­cil may re­sign his rank of the Or­der.

Un­der Ar­ti­cle 13 of the Statutes and Or­di­nances of the Or­der, the sov­er­eign shall have power and the right to de­grade and ex­pel from the state Or­der any mem­ber who has been con­victed of trea­son, felony or any of­fence con­sid­ered deroga­tory in a man of hon­our.

Q: Do you have any in­ten­tion of re­vok­ing any medals or ti­tles?


I do not have any in­ten­tion to do so. I am a hum­ble ser­vant of God. If they don’t like it, they can give it back. I have re­voked some.

There was also a datuk­ship ti­tle that I re­scinded from a lawyer who cheated oth­ers by fak­ing a sig­na­ture. That per­son is not qual­i­fied to have the ti­tle.

Q: Do you think our peo­ple are pam­pered?


You should look at the dif­fer­ence be­tween Malays in Jo­hor and Malays in Sin­ga­pore.

Look for your­self. There are no squat­ters in Sin­ga­pore. Ev­ery­one has a home, ev­ery­one has an ed­u­ca­tion and ev­ery­one fol­lows the law in Sin­ga­pore.

Why not in Jo­hor? Are we scared that vot­ers will run away?

That’s the cause of it. Who­ever is of­fended with what I say, I apol­o­gise in ad­vance. I am ex­press­ing what I think and noth­ing more. It does not mean I hate my peo­ple or that I am an­gry with my peo­ple. No.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the For­est City project. Sul­tan Ibrahim says the com­pany, not the buy­ers, owns the free­hold land.

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