PENGERANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor's Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin has spoken up for the state's Crown Prince, after the royal's Facebook post on Malaysian politics was criticised by thousands of netizens.
The state chief from ruling coalition Barisan Nasional said Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was making a factual statement, and that he had the right to express his views on matters affecting the people.
"We should be rational and anyone who does not agree with Tunku Ismail's views should not respond rudely," said Datuk Seri Khaled.
In his post last Saturday (April 7), the Crown Prince appeared to support the existing administration, saying his family is working in the background with the government to steer the country onto the right course.
"Our neighbouring countries and I believe that if a ship has been sailing fine for many years but has an issue due to its skipper, do not fix it with a new engine," he wrote.
He had also written: "I hope the people are not easily fooled by a forked-tongue individual. At the moment he is not trying to save the country, he is more worried of what will happen to his children in the future," in what is seen as a reference to former premier and opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad.
Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, a supreme council member of Umno, lauded the royal's comments, saying Tunku Ismail presented a "rational voice" and urged all Malaysians to heed his advice.
On Sunday, Tunku Ismail defended his post on the Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page, saying that he was only giving his personal opinion.
"I gave my sincerest opinion for what I think is best for my state. It was my personal opinion, and being in my position, I do not support any political party or individual.
"Whenever I think of something, I always think of the betterment of the state of Johor, and I do not let my emotions cloud my opinions," he wrote.
People, he said, had the right to their own views or to choose for themselves whom they wanted. "But remember, whomever that person may be, he must serve and give priority to you and not to his personal agenda."My opinion is for the state of Johor. Whatever I think of, whatever I do, it is for the people of Johor and not for myself," he said.
The original post attracted more than 13,000 comments, with many writing that although they respected the Prince, they did not share his views.
On Monday (April 9), the Prince again called on the people to respect each other despite their differences. In another Facebook post, he said that people had to accept that there are differences in politics, race, religion or beliefs.
"We are all different but what must remain is respect. Because without respect amongst one another, we are nothing but animals," he said.
"At the end of the day, politicians have to understand that they need to serve the people and not the ideology of a political party. No matter what happens, do not burden the people and that should always be their priority," he added.