PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has warned that he will not hesitate to dissolve the Johor state assembly if politicians continue to engage in power struggles and threaten the state government.
"I will not entertain any political games by assemblymen and risk destabilising my state and government. If that occurs, then I will not hesitate to dissolve the state assembly," he said.
"We don't need politicians to represent the people if all they think about is themselves and not the interests and welfare of the rakyat (people)."
Sultan Ibrahim was speaking at the opening of the 14th Johor state assembly at the Sultan Ismail Building in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri, on Thursday (Aug 12).
He also reminded assemblymen to fully utilise the current session to discuss and plan a clear course of action to help the people and rebuild Johor's economy.
"There is no need to bring up unnecessary motions in the House. Don't be selfish. The rakyat (people) are suffering, going hungry, losing their jobs and some are even fighting for their lives because of Covid-19," Sultan Ibrahim said.
"This is not the time to fight (for political power); rather, this is the time to unite and work together. Don't look around to see what other politicians are up to, look at yourselves in the mirror instead."
Sultan Ibrahim's warning was also posted on his official Facebook page on Thursday morning.
The fourth session of the Johor state assembly, which began on Thursday, has been postponed to next Sunday to review the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for Covid-19.
State Speaker Suhaizan Kayat made the announcement after Sultan Ibrahim had given his decree during the opening of the state assembly meeting.
"As what has been advised by His Majesty and in accordance with the assessment by the Johor Health Department and to give space for the dewan's management to adhere to the SOP for Covid-19, the meeting is postponed to Aug 22," the Speaker said.
Earlier, Sultan Ibrahim said this was the second time that the state assembly meeting was being held under the threat of Covid-19.
"Johor still records a very high number of cases and daily deaths, which have worsened compared with last year. This situation is very concerning for me," he said.
"In addition, there is a new variant that is easier to infect and spreads fast, to the point of taking the lives of patients. Therefore, all rakyat are advised to be more careful, reduce movement outside the house and always take preventive measures recommended by the government."
Sultan Ibrahim said the state assembly meeting this time round should be done with care.
"Make sure everyone attends according to the SOPs that have been set. Health risk assessment should be done daily. If there is a high-risk threat, I have asked the Speaker to adjourn this meeting," he added.
Meanwhile, Johor Menteri Besar Hasni Mohammad said the postponement was carried out as there was a need to increase SOP adherence to avoid a repeat of the situation in Parliament at the state assembly meeting.
"We do not want to see the state assembly meeting already halfway before being postponed due to Covid-19. The Speaker is reviewing the SOPs, including how many days and how long the meeting can be held," Datuk Hasni said.
He added that the state government was looking at introducing a travel bubble for all assemblymen to make sure they are safe.
"All 56 assemblymen will be placed at a safe location throughout the meeting period to avoid close contact with any potential Covid-19 cases," he said.
"We will also be looking at installing transparent barriers among the assemblymen, as I believe all of them should attend the meeting instead of holding a hybrid session as the capacity inside the hall is large."
Mr Hasni said the government would make the announcement on the SOPs a couple of days before Aug 22.