Mahathir takes aim at Johor crown prince

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KUALA LUMPUR • The federal government in Malaysia has the right to respond to comments made by the Malay rulers over its administration of the country, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

He was speaking last Friday in response to comments made by the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, which urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to stop politicising every issue and start governing the country.

"He (the prince) doesn't understand the federation. Perhaps he wasn't born during that time, so he is unaware, but I was born at that time," Tun Dr Mahathir told a news conference, when asked to comment on what the prince had said. "When we formed the federation, it meant the federation governs the whole nation."

The Prime Minister added: "We have a list of what is governed by the federation and by the states. However, it is not stated anywhere that the federation cannot issue statements in response to statements issued by the states."

The prince had previously asked federal Cabinet ministers not to comment on issues relating to Johor state matters.

Dr Mahathir, asked what he thought of Tunku Ismail's impression of how PH is running the country, said: "He has no position (in the government)."

The prince had said last Thursday that he really wanted the government to be successful.

"I wake up everyday hoping to be wrong. But they keep proving me right. I did the same with the old government, and I'm doing the same now.

"No difference. Just wanting the best for the people.

"Some may not like what I say, but that's the challenge. To keep speaking up for the people who can't," Tunku Ismail wrote on his Facebook page.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 06, 2019, with the headline Mahathir takes aim at Johor crown prince. Subscribe