TMJ: Don’t Meddle in Johor’s Islamic Affairs

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Ongoing tension between Johor and federal government.

  • Mahathir says state constitutions overwritten by Federal Constitution
  • TMJ responds with excerpts from Federal Constitution to suggest otherwise
  • Sultan suggests setting aside differences between Johor and the federal government
  • Muhyiddin says sultan must stop interfering in the state government
  • TMJ warns outsiders not to meddle in Johor’s Islamic affairs

The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, yesterday reminded those who have nothing to do with Johor not to cause problems by interfering with the state’s Islamic affairs.

Tunku Ismail reminded all quarters that Johor is a sovereign state with its own constitution, based on the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

“To those who have nothing to do with Johor, don’t meddle with Islamic religious affairs, which are state matters.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“And don’t create problems among the people of Johor or confuse them, including the Johor royalty. In fact, Johor is always ready to share knowledge and work together to strengthen the ummah (Muslims) in the region,” said Tunku Ismail.

Tension rose between the Johor palace and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when the new Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal announced his exco lineup on Monday (April 22) which included three new names despite the federal Cabinet’s understanding that the previous officials would be retained despite the sultan’s demand for a reshuffle.

The new lineup caught Dr Mahathir by surprise as he publicly insisted the sultan had no say in the matter, just ahead of the Johor MB’s announcement.

On Wednesday, Dr Mahathir penned a personal blog entry that appeared to centre on the dispute in Johor, saying state constitutions that predate the Federal Constitution were effectively overwritten by the latter.

He said this meant state rulers should adhere to the winning party’s candidates for appointments rather than dictate their choices.

Tunku Ismail responded by posting excerpts from the Federal Constitution to suggest otherwise.

In a Facebook posting, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar suggested that discussions be held to iron out the problems between Johor and the federal government.

He said he hope all parties will work together and ensure the state administration runs smoothly.

 “If there are disagreements or misunderstandings, especially involving the relationship between the state of Johor and the federal government, I suggest we set aside any differences.

“On the contrary, it would be better to meet and discuss in a mature manner for the good of all, especially the people,” he added.

While welcoming Sultan Ibrahim’s olive branch to the federal government, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said for the strained ties to heal, the monarch must also admit to having caused unease.

“The sultan must agree that he has done certain things which have created uneasiness

“Intervening in affairs of running the state, that too has to be stopped.

“Not that the sultan cannot intervene, he can at times, but disturbing the administration of the state must be stopped,” Muhyiddin told reporters in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

The home minister and former Johor menteri besar said Sultan Ibrahim must stop interfering in the Johor state government to show the sincerity of his call for civil discourse.

Related reports:

Apr 24, In Response to Dr M’s Blogpost TMJ Posts Excerpts of Constitutional Rights of Rulers

Apr 10, PM-Johor Palace Tiff

Apr 9, TMJ Confirms MB to Be Swapped, but on Sultan’s Decree