JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has vowed to continue speaking up on behalf of the city's residents as hundreds of Johoreans turned up to support the royal at a rally held Tuesday amid his ongoing spat with Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
“I will continue to voice out for the people of Johor,” Tunku Ismail told a crowd outside the palace gates on Tuesday.
He said he would always uphold the supremacy of the state to ensure the peace and harmony of Johoreans.
"Thank you for all your support. I do not want to speak much, as there are people in Putrajaya who want to whack me," he said. "As my father always advise me, I am a humble servant of Johor," he added.
Earlier, the crowd cheered aloud as Tunku Ismail made an appearance at a royalty rally.
Hundreds of Johoreans had turned up at the Bukit Serene palace chanting "Daulat Tuanku" ("Long live the king") as the prince, accompanied by his wife and siblings, came out to address the people.
Members of various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also gathered in front of the palace to show their love and support for the Johor royalty.
Supporters called for Mr Nazri to step down from his position for making rude statements against the royal family.
The groups also submitted a memorandum to palace officials.
The crowd also sang the Johor state anthem before the royal family made their way back into the palace grounds.
They dispersed around 5.30pm.
Mr Nazri had on Saturday criticised Tunku Ismail, saying that the prince should stay out of politics unless he wanted to be subjected to the same rule and be "whacked".
Mr Nazri said this in response to a post made by the prince on June 5, criticising Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for not attending an open dialogue session organised by an NGO to discuss national issues.
Tunku Ismail immediately responded through a video post on Johor Southern Tigers where he turned to the camera and made a beckoning gesture with his left hand, implying he was not afraid to face any challenge.
On Monday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Mr Nazri would be investigated under Section 505B of the Penal Code for his remark against Tunku Ismail, which could cause alarm to the public.
On the same day, Tunku Ismail told Mr Nazri in another post that "he is not a God from the heavens who lords above everybody".
That comment was followed by a response from Mr Nazri on Tuesday, who said he was elected by his constituents to serve them - a position, he said, which sets him apart from the Crown Prince.
He added that he was voicing out the people's sentiment, just like what Tunku Ismail did as the leader of his rakyat, on behalf of Johoreans and Malaysians.
"The difference between us is that I was elected by the people. If I do not carry out my duties then the rakyat will punish me in due time," he said.