Is Johor government so weak, it needs sultan to intervene, asks Utusan


(The Malaysian Insider) – Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today questioned whether the Barisan Nasional-led Johor government was so weak it needed to involve the Sultan of Johor in its administration.

Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for the daily’s collective editorial team, questioned the sultan’s role in the Johor Property and Housing Commission (JPHC).

It had been reported earlier that the Johor Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 proposing the formation of the JPHC would be tabled in the state legislative tomorrow.

The JPHC would enable Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar to be involved directly in the state administration, which was unprecedented in Malaysia.

“Many parties have been quite vocal when Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin was insistent on presenting the proposed bill in tomorrow’s Johor state legislative.

“So the question which needs to be asked is – is the Johor government so weak that it needs to create the JPHC to open the door for the Sultan of Johor?” Awang asked in today’s column.

“What guarantees are there that the Sultan of Johor will not interfere, even though Khaled insists that he will have the executive powers? This is what is worrying,” Awang said.

Various groups, including non-government organisations, academics, legal analysts and constitutional experts, have opposed Khaled’s action.

“In the spirit of democracy, this bill should be shelved and studied later as it has major implications,” Awang said.

“There is no point acting in haste.

“Ask the people of Johor first whether they want a sultan who has absolute power or if they want to stick with the status quo of the Constitution,” Awang added.

There have been widespread rumours in Malaysia’s southern state that Khaled’s hands are tied because of interference from the royal family, especially in land development issues.

“I am not certain about the veracity of the rumours. There may be some truth to it or it may just be general perception,” Awang said.

Johor folk are reportedly more than a tad worried about the development in the state, including the establishment of the JPHC.

“There are many stories on the real estate sector in the state and information leaked from state officials that are making the public uncomfortable.

“This is where the rumours of Khaled being weak and acceding to the wishes of the royal family have emerged.”

Earlier this week, Utusan Malaysia reported that Sultan Ibrahim would be directly involved in the administration of the state government once the JPHC was approved.

However, the proposed bill was met with fierce opposition from numerous quarters, including former Johor Corporation (JCorp) chief executive officer and president Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim.

Ali said this issue had the potential to jeopardise the long-term prospects of the public in Johor and Malaysians in general.