Mahathir puzzled that Johor Crown Prince was unaware of hub project

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (right) had posted a Facebook link accusing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government of bulldozing over Johor's jurisdiction.
Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (right) had posted a Facebook link accusing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's government of bulldozing over Johor's jurisdiction.

PUTRAJAYA • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said that he is puzzled over why the Crown Prince of Johor is unaware of a ship-to-ship hub slated to be built in waters off the state, after Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim posted a link on Facebook accusing the federal government of bulldozing over Johor's jurisdiction.

Tun Dr Mahathir said many people in the state already knew of the project, which had been discussed since last year, The Star reported.

"I am puzzled that he doesn't know. He knows a lot of things, yet he doesn't know about this," Dr Mahathir said yesterday.

He was responding to questions on the project after witnessing the signing of an agreement between KA Petra and Hutchison Ports Holdings. Under the agreement, KA Petra and Hutchison Ports will jointly develop a ship-to-ship transfer hub, touted as the world's largest, in Johor Baru Port waters.

Dr Mahathir also denied claims that Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian was unaware of the project.

"I met him yesterday and we spoke about this. So, he knows," he said, adding that the project would be beneficial to the country.

On Sunday, the Crown Prince shared a Facebook post originating from a Johor organisation called Gerakan Muafakat Johor (Johor Consensus Movement) which accused Putrajaya of planning the project without the knowledge of the Johor government.

 
 

Relations between Dr Mahathir and the Johor royalty have been strained even after the Prime Minister visited Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in January in a display of conciliation.

Last August, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will bar foreigners from buying residential units built at Johor's US$100 billion (S$136 billion) Forest City project, which is a partnership between Chinese developer Country Garden and the Sultan of Johor.

Last December, Dr Mahathir took issue with the Sultan's conversion of Pulau Kukup, the world's second-largest uninhabited mangrove island, located in southern Johor, from a national park to sultanate land. The move sparked a war of words between the Prime Minister and the Crown Prince.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Mahathir puzzled that Johor Crown Prince was unaware of hub project'. Print Edition | Subscribe