Johor royals not being monitored, says KL govt

PETALING JAYA • The Malaysian government is not monitoring members of the Johor royal family using covert surveillance systems as alleged by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, said Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman.

"As far as I know, no such orders were given either from the leadership or any parties in the Pakatan Harapan government," Datuk Azis was quoted as saying in a report published in the Malay daily Sinar Harian yesterday. "If Tunku Ismail is telling the truth, he should inform and provide information on the matter to us or the police."

Tunku Ismail had posted on Facebook last Saturday that he had been approached by an individual to buy a surveillance device, which he described as "Israeli-made" and "used to spy on people and gather intel".

The prince said government officials had told him that such devices were being used to monitor him and his father, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, and that cyber troopers were watching their social media pages.

Mr Azis told Sinar Harian the government is prepared to investigate the matter if such espionage attempts existed in Malaysia.

The prince also stated in his post that government officials had informed him that the surveillance device was used by national agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police intelligence agency Special Branch, the Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the Prime Minister's Office.

In a statement yesterday, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun denied that the Johor royals were being monitored, reported The Star. "The police wish to assure the Johor palace that this is not taking place," said Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi. "I will seek an audience with... the Johor Sultan to brief him over this matter."

The MCMC also issued a statement yesterday saying it does not carry out mass monitoring of any social media or e-mails. "Any investigations into social media postings and enforcement action are carried out as a result of complaints or requests by law enforcement agencies," the Internet regulator's acting chairman, Datuk Mohd Ali Mohamad Nor, said.

Mr Mohd Ali stressed that the government upholds the right to freedom of speech and privacy within the confines of the law and MCMC will assist if there is a breach of the law.

Meanwhile, Sinar Harian also reported that Johor police had not, as yet, received any reports on the claims made by Tunku Ismail.

"We have not received any reports lodged by the Johor palace on this matter," said Johor police chief commissioner Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2018, with the headline 'Johor royals not being monitored, says KL govt'. Print Edition | Subscribe