Johor Prince says KL keeping tabs on Sultan and him

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said he had been approached by an individual to buy a surveillance device.
Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said he had been approached by an individual to buy a surveillance device.PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU • The Johor Crown Prince has alleged that he and his father, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, are under surveillance by Malaysia's government, using covert intelligence systems.

In a Facebook post last Saturday, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said he had been approached by an individual to buy a surveillance device, which he described in his post as "Israeli-made" and "used to spy on people and gather intel".

The Prince said government officials had informed him that the device was used by national agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police intelligence agency Special Branch and the Prime Minister's Office.

He noted that the technology was used by the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration but that there was no place for such practices in "Malaysia Baru" (New Malaysia) after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won the polls.

"It is not nice when officials come to me saying that my father, the Johor Sultan, and I are being monitored," he said.

"And that there are cyber troopers planted on JDT and our personal (social media) pages... waiting in case there is something that does not go down well with certain higher-ups," he added, referring to the Facebook page of the Johor Darul Ta'zim Football Club (JDT), of which he is the royal patron.

According to the news site Malaysiakini, Tunku Ismail made similar claims in 2016, alleging that his phone was being tapped and that his movements were being monitored by the Special Branch. He also claimed that the Bukit Aman police headquarters had opened files on him and his father.

In April, Tunku Ismail had in a post on JDT's Facebook page warned Johoreans not to be "easily fooled by a forked-tongue individual" who had reduced the power of state rulers and was not trying to save the country as claimed. He did not name the individual, but was clearly referring to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who led the then opposition PH to election victory one month later, and is now Prime Minister.

"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," he wrote in April, in reference to widespread discontent with former prime minister Najib Razak and his party Umno, which helms BN.

In his post last Saturday, however, the Johor Prince reiterated the southern state's support for the central government.

"Let me be clear, I have nothing against the government. Johor has always had the policy of supporting the ruling government. That said, we will give our support when the right things are done. Yet we will not be silent when wrongs are being committed," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'Johor Prince says KL keeping tabs on Sultan and him'. Print Edition | Subscribe