‘Let the ruler be offended, as long as people’s grouses are heard’

Khaled Nordin

(The Rakyat Post) – Utusan Malaysia has seemingly taken the lead in criticising and questioning the Barisan Nasional (BN) administered Johor state, over the controversial Johor Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014.

In a tough stand over the proposed new bill, the daily in it’s weekly collective editorial column, Awang Selamat said; “Let the ruler be offended, as long as people’s grouses are heard.”

It questioned whether the Johor government was so weak that it needed the intervention of the state ruler, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in the Johor Property and Housing Commission (JPHC).

It was earlier reported that Johor will table an enactment at the States Legislative Assembly tomorrow to form a housing and real property board which will grant Sultan Ibrahim the power to appoint board members, dissolve the board and oversee its accounts.

The bill also aims to empower the Sultan in determining the remuneration for board members, to approve the appointment of directors as well as to pass the estimated expenses for each subsequent year before submitting it for the state government’s approval for the allocations.

Lawmakers and politicians from both sides of the divide, however, saw red over the move.

“Many became doubtful and angry when Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin insisted on presenting the proposed bill in tomorrow’s state legislative assembly,” the column read.

“Looks like it is seemingly in breach with the voices of many parties, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academicians, legal analysts and politicians, right up to the statesmen.”

The column added that if the state intends to adopt a democratic spirit since the issue poses a huge implication, then it is better to put the bill on hold.

“Get feedback from various quarters, especially from the Johor people themselves if they are all for absolute or constitutional monarchy,” it added.

It said that while it does not intend to question the existence of JPHC, though without the body, the agenda to promote low and affordable housing, including for Bumiputeras can materialise as seen in other states, the only question now is; Is the Johor state administration too weak that it has to  create the JPHC with the involvement of the Sultan?

“There is talk in Johor that the Menteri Besar has his hands tied and is more formidable with allowing much palace interference, especially in matters of property development.

“Everyone knows that it is not easy being a Menteri Besar in Johor, but that is no reason for Mohamed Khaled to resort to taking ‘the safe route’.”
The column opined that whatever the case may be, this was an opportunity for Mohamed Khaled to showcase his leadership qualities by putting forth the people’s welfare no matter what.