DYAM Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the Crown Prince of Johor (Tunku Mahkota Johor or TMJ), is quite popular amongst Malaysians because he is outspoken and dares throw challenges.
Malaysians just love people who can challenge or cabar another person. That is why cockfighting is still very popular in the Malay heartland of West Malaysia and in East Malaysia. When it comes to cockfighting Malays are just like the Spanish and their bullfights.
I suppose the Tunku Mahkota Johor is what Chinese would call a fighter-cock. One blog actually wrote an article titled 11 reasons why the Crown Prince of Johor is a TOTAL BADASS ( READ HERE ).
That article is painting a positive, not negative, picture regarding the Johor Crown Prince just like Rambo is a goodie and not a baddie. In that sense the TMJ would be Malaysia’s version of Rambo, which is why many Malaysians love him, in particular when he gets into fights with ‘orang kuat’.
Malays still love the story of Sultan Mahmud Shah II (the last Sultan of Johor descended from the Sultans of Melaka) and his challenger, Laksamana Megat Seri Rama, or the story of Hang Jebat and his challenger, Hang Tuah. Sultan Mahmud Shah and Hang Jebat were both killed by their challengers (although the Laksamana was also killed at the same time).
And that is also why, in spite of his many faults and transgressions, many Malaysians also still like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir is a fighter-cock who challenged the First Prime Minister, the Rulers, the Judiciary, Australia, Britain, the United States, Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore, the Jews and Israel, PAS and the Islamists (even massacred them in Memali just to make a point), the Chinese educationists (launched Operasi Lalang to silence them), and much more.
Who in Malaysian political history (or even world history) would dare close down his party and register a new party just to get rid of his enemies and those making a nuisance of themselves? Then Mahathir made sure they were not allowed into the new party, which forced them to set up their own party where they could be isolated and then exterminated (which more or less is going to be the fate of PPBM or Pribumi — poetic justice I would say).
Anyway, the TMJ is clever at seeking publicity and at playing to the gallery. And these are the type of people Malaysians love — which is why PAN’s Mat Sabu, PKR’s Rafizi Ramli, DAP’s Tony Pua, PAS’s Mahfuz Omar, (hello, hello, hello…Sirul ke situ…alamak dia tak jawab), DAP’s ‘Superman’, Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali, the ANC’s Khairuddin Abu Hassan, and all those other jokers of Malaysian politics are household names.
The only problem is: should the TMJ be mentioned in the same sentence as the clowns of Malaysian politics? This is the dilemma we will face in future if the TMJ were to be perceived as just another 32-year-old young Chico playing populist politics. And this is what DYAM Tunku Ismail should guard against.
The other problem is people are beginning to say that there are so many social and other problems within Johor itself (a very high crime rate being one of them according to Singapore) but yet the TMJ does not appear concerned about them. One very immediate and serious problem is regarding the conduct and behaviour of the Johor Menteri Besar, Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
What is the TMJ doing about this? DYAM is maintaining a deafening silence instead of cleaning up this smear on Johor’s name. And people notice this and are talking about it. They are beginning to ask why the TMJ is protecting his Menteri Besar.
The TMJ does not appear to notice the elephant in the room — or as the Malays would say, ‘kuman di seberang lautan tampak, gajah di pelupuk mata tiada tampak’. Yes, the TMJ’s own backyard needs plenty of cleaning up so maybe that should first or also be taken care of before DYAM talks about things which constitutionally are out of his jurisdiction anyway.
His Majesty the Agong made it very clear two weeks ago that the Constitution is very specific about what the Rulers can and cannot do. And politics is definitely a realm that the Rulers must not stray into. And His Majesty is not a young Chico plus he has been Agong for two terms.
The other rulers, too, monitor the progress of their respective states. Take Selangor, for example. His Highness the Sultan meets the Menteri Besar every week and normally has a long list of things to discuss. His Highness also follows up on previous discussions to see whether whatever was raised has been attended to.
No, Rulers do not just sleep in their Palaces. They work. They go to office. The Sultan of Kedah, the current Agong, even sets aside a certain day when the normal rakyat or man-in-the-street can just walk in to complain to His Majesty whatever it is they are not happy about. That is why Mahathir was given his audience on 15th September 2016 to ‘complain’ about Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Even a farmer or fisherman is given that privilege in Kedah.
But the other Rulers do not post all this in their blogs or call for a press conference or issue media statements. And for sure they do not throw challenges or invite people to fight. The other Rulers know that they should work within their ‘jurisdiction’ and not be seen as ‘playing politics’ or grandstanding.
Of course, there are state issues and there are national issues. But then there is the Conference of Rulers that meets three times a year where the Menteri Besar and Chief Minister of each state plus the Prime Minister also attend.
For example, at the 240th meeting of the Conference of Rulers in February 2016, which was chaired by His Highness the Sultan of Selangor, the Rulers gave their opinion regarding some provisions of the National Security Council Bill 2015, which they feel should be ‘refined’.
After that meeting, the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said the Selangor Sultan would be writing to the Prime Minister to inform him about the view of the Rulers. Ultimately the Rulers just give their views. They do not give orders to the Prime Minister or any cabinet minister. And the Prime Minister can ignore this view if he so wishes and still get invited to the Agong’s birthday party every year.
Do you remember 20 years ago in 1996 when the ‘Islamists’ protested about Michael Jackson’s ‘obscene’ concert that was going to be held in Selangor? Syed Mohd Yusof Syed Tahir a.k.a. Jojo just quietly shifted the venue to Kuala Lumpur without any fuss and without the Raja Muda of Selangor calling anyone to fight.