Sultan Johor: Shape up or ship out

By Lourdes Charles & Nelson Benjamin, The Star

Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar wants politicians and the Johor civil service to buck up and serve the people, failing which they will be booted out.

The Johor ruler stressed that this was not a “Santa Claus” government and wanted everybody in the state administration to work hard and produce results.

“They must buck up and if they cannot, then they must get out. I am fair to everyone (Opposition or ruling government).

New era in Johor: Sultan Ibrahim expecting everyone in the state administration to work hard and produce results.

“Even to the present government, I tell them to buck up and shape up,” he said, adding that he had not wanted to voice out previously out of respect for his late father.

However, now as the new Johor ruler, Sultan Ibrahim said he wanted to speak his mind and give suggestions.

“This is a new millennium. A new era and as a new Sultan, I expect a lot of changes in my state,” he said during an exclusive interview at Istana Pasir Pelangi here recently.

Sultan Ibrahim did not mince his words when he said several state executive councillors were not performing up to expectations.

“All these people were appointed during my late father’s time. I have a lot of respect for my father but now, I am the Sultan and I expect a lot of changes,” he said, singling out the tourism sector as one where there had been “zero effort” to promote arts and crafts in Johor.

Sultan Ibrahim pointed out that state exco members should come up with new ideas to improve tourism in the state, suggesting that a survey be carried out to see how this could be done.

Among his first decrees to bring about changes and development in Johor, is the directive that all state government agencies give detailed briefings on matters relating to the administration and finance of their respective departments.

“In short, I want to know everything and nothing must be hidden from me,” he said, reminding the agencies not to give false reports as he had informers in every nook and corner.

Sultan Ibrahim said the first briefing would be from Majlis Agama Islam Johor and he expected them to provide him with figures on their spending of zakat money, collection, those who had yet to pay and religious schools’ curriculum.

He said once he had finished with the agencies in Johor Baru, he would move on to the districts and get briefings from all levels, including district officers and the village headmen.

“I will question them and if I suspect something amiss, they will be in for a royal shelling. I want everyone to always be on their toes,” he said, adding that he had also directed some agencies to be audited.

He said he would also give ideas and views on ways to better the public delivery system during these sessions.