Former minister's son investigated for sedition over blog post criticising Johor royal

Malaysian politician Tamrin Ghafar (above) had posted a controversial blog criticising the Johor crown prince for interfering in the country's politics.
Malaysian politician Tamrin Ghafar (above) had posted a controversial blog criticising the Johor crown prince for interfering in the country's politics.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian politician Tamrin Ghafar, who is being investigated by police for sedition over a blog post critical of the Johor royal family, has said he will subpoena the Johor crown prince as a witness if the case goes to court.

"I would prefer if this case is taken to court so I can subpoena all these people," he told reporters on Monday (Feb 10) after leaving the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, according to news site MalaysiaKini.

"When I have to defend myself, then I have to also call TMJ," he added, using the acronym for Tunku Mahkota Johor, or the Johor crown prince.

Datuk Tamrin, the son of former deputy prime minister Ghafar Baba, had posted a controversial blog post on Feb 1 criticising the crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for interfering in the the country's politics.

Titled "TMJ - Foolish arrogance that can't be taught", the blog also accused the Johor royal family of corrupt behaviour.

Mr Tamrin, 72, pointed to Tunku Ismail's lavish lifestyle and alleged that it was paid for with taxpayers money. He also called the prince a "stupid young boy" for making a remark two weeks ago condemning the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's management of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Jan 26, the prince posted on Facebook that his warning to voters about the perils of changing the government two years ago has come true.

"Don't change the boat if the engine is not broken, don't even change the skipper but allow HM The Sultan of Johor and I to work with the skipper," the royal posted on social media in 2018, ahead of general elections which ushered in the first change of government in the country's history.

The prince's latest remark drew on public criticism of the government for not banning Chinese visitors from the country when the coronavirus outbreak came to light.

Mr Tamrin chided the prince for interfering with political affairs and said: "Read and understand the country's constitution before displaying arrogance".

This is not the first time Mr Tamrin has slighted the Johor royals.

In 2018, he also published a blog post condemning the past and present Johor state governments for allowing Pulau Kukup, a national park, to be redesignated as Sultanate land.

Mr Tamrin's father was deputy prime minister from 1986 to 1993 under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration, before being ousted by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the Umno elections.

 

Mr Tamrin himself is currently not affiliated with any political party.

His blog posts have been supportive of Dr Mahathir, currently serving his second stint as prime minister, but critical of home minister Muhyiddin Yassin - a Johorean and president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Dr Mahathir's new party.