Without words, Johor crown prince gestures to ‘bring it on’


(Malay Mail Online) – In a wordless video clip lasting all of 17 seconds, Johor crown prince HRH Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim appeared to mock a minister’s warning to mute his critical views.

Turning to face the camera directly, the 30-year-old who appears to be as social media savvy as he is politically astute, silently raised his left hand and made a gesture that could be interpreted as “bring it on”.

There were no words in the accompanying Facebook page of the Johor Southern Tigers, the football association headed by the young prince, to link the two incidents.

But the video was posted scant hours after Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told off Tunku Ismail for allegedly “meddling” in government business over the controversy surrounding state investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“I think he should keep out of politics, otherwise he may be subjected to the same rule. We will whack him,” Nazri was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini telling a news conference in Universiti Malaya.

“Rulers and royal families are not above the law. If he wants to be a politician, then say so. Then we can answer back,” the minister was quoted adding, reportedly referring to Tunku Ismail.

The prince holds an important position in the state, Nazri said, before adding: “If the government hits you back, don’t get angry”.

The Johor royal had recently weighed in on a public forum where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was to explain the government’s controversial actions on debt-riddled 1MDB but which had been cancelled at the last minute.

The minister also said the government had been protecting the Malay monarchy, adding that the people’s respect for the royal institution may crumble if its members started to “meddle in politics”.

According to the news portal, the minister was responding to the prince’s Facebook post on June 5 about the “Nothing2Hide” forum.

The prince also appeared to have found an unlikely supporter for his critical views in retired prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“That is free speech. As much as the government has free speech, the crown prince has free speech,” Dr Mahathir told a press conference after speaking at the Cooler Lumpur Festival here this evening.

His comments followed the public chiding Nazri made earlier today against Tunku Ismail.