Johor Sultan: No more debate with Mahathir

JOHOR BARU • The Sultan of Johor has said he is not interested in further debate with former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on the issue of mainland Chinese investment in the state's Forest City and other projects.

"I have said what needs to be said. Enough is enough. I make statements that are based on facts and figures, and not on a Western news report. I don't make assumptions or create fears, that's all," Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar said.

He added that he did "not want to lower" himself as he was interested only "in the welfare of the people and not politics".

He was asked for his response to Tun Dr Mahathir's call to fully disclose all deals on the matter to refute claims that some one million foreigners, including mainland Chinese, would be living in Forest City and 60 other housing projects in Johor, with the possibility that they could become Malaysian citizens.

Dr Mahathir made these claims in a blog post, citing a report by Bloomberg that Forest City would house 700,000 people.

He also railed against allowing "foreigners" to be given large tracts of land to build property that would be occupied by them.

The Sultan on Monday accused Dr Mahathir of fear-mongering by playing racial politics, adding that he was "deeply offended" by the political spin against mainland Chinese investments.

In response, Dr Mahathir asked why Chinese contractors were brought in for some of the projects. "Publish all documents about the investments, the number of workers, their home countries, the buyers, the banks which finance and all expatriation of funds," he said in a letter to The Star on Tuesday.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'Johor Sultan: No more debate with Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe