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Johor ruler: Don't start talking about who has power

His comments come after the swearing in of new Johor Menteri Besar

JOHOR BARU: Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said yesterday that the federal government should stop "wasting time" in talking about who has the authority over Johor.

In a statement on Facebook after the swearing in of a new Johor Menteri Besar, the 60-year-old ruler said: "I would like to advise the government to stop wasting time by talking too much about non-beneficial things, slandering and creating stories just to attract attention or to confuse the rakyat.

"Instead, focus your attention on assisting the people's welfare and improving the country's economic development."

The Johor ruler and his son, the Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, have been at loggerheads with Dr Mahathir over who has the right to appoint the new Menteri Besar and whether the federal government has the right to speak about Johor affairs.

Dr Mahathir, 93, said he has the right to speak about Johor as it remains part of the Malaysian federation.

He was quoted by Malay Mail online news as saying last week: "I am (of) the opinion that if we assume that those who chose prime ministers and Menteris Besar were the monarchs, we will no longer be a democratic country.

"This is because a party that was rightfully chosen by the people, that has the power to appoint Menteris Besar, have had their rights denied.

"We would be a country with an absolute monarchy."

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Sultan Ibrahim yesterday: "The Johor government has long been established, where it has its own culture and way of administrating itself.

"Those on the outside do not have to start talking about who has the power and how to administer the state."

Experts say under the state Constitution, the political party or coalition that wins the state in an election has the right to pick the Menteri Besar, which the ruler would then "appoint".

Johor's new Menteri Besar, Dr Sahruddin Jamal, is Bukit Kepong assemblyman, who is also state Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman.

Dr Sahruddin, 44, replaced Mr Osman Sapian, who resigned from the post after 11 months. - THE STRAITS TIMES, THE STAR

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