TMJ calls for Johor to be treated as a federal partner

Tunku Ismail says the federal system should be reformed, and urges political parties to form a Sarawak-style coalition, known as “Gabungan Bangsa Johor”.

(FMT) – The regent of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, has called for a reform of the federal system, with Johor to be treated as a partner, and suggested that Johor-based political parties unite in a coalition known as “Gabungan Bangsa Johor” to guarantee the state’s interests.

Noting how Sarawak ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak is made up of several Sarawak-based parties, Tunku Ismail said the state has used that to its advantage to negotiate more effectively with federal authorities.

“In Sarawak, you see Sarawak parties in power. (But) in Johor, you have PKR, DAP, Umno, PAS. Why don’t you (politicians) join forces to form Gabungan Bangsa Johor?,” he said during a podcast aired live on Facebook.

“When you join forces and are united, the federal government cannot be deaf to (your demands) any more. You’ll be the kingmaker,” said Tunku Ismail, who is often referred to as TMJ.

“It’s not like we are rioting, opposing the government or trying to overthrow any parties. It’s just that I want Johor to have its rights. Until when will Johor be beggars?,” he said, adding that this was his personal view.

In the podcast, Tunku Ismail also called for changes in the federal system “because Johor… It does not belong to Malaysia. We are partners. So you have to start treating us as partners,” he said.

He hoped that in future “at least, 20-30% of the state’s revenue will go back to Johor.”

He said all the state’s tax revenue currently went to the federal government. That’s RM48-49 billion a year, and they give us back RM1.4 billion. How are we to take care of Johoreans with RM1.4 billion a year?”

GPS, the ruling coalition in Sarawak, was formed after Barisan Nasional lost power in the 2018 general election and is currently the country’s fourth largest political coalition, with 23 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.

The coalition has 79 seats in the 82-seat Sarawak legislative assembly and is made up of four Sarawak-based parties: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Parti Demokratic Progresif, Sarawak United People’s Party and Parti Rakyat Sarawak.