Anthony Loke Dodges Question on TMJ and RZ Number Plates

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Transport Minister Anthony Loke refused today to confirm or deny if the ‘TMJ’ and ‘RZ’ registration plates used by two Johor royals are registered with the Road Transport Department (RTD).

  • Reminder to Pakatan Harapan representatives not to question the privileges of the royal institution
  • Pang regrets if number plates poser hurt royal feelings
  • MP claims Umno “deliberately and deceptively twisted and spun” his question into a racial issue which could spark an “imaginary war” with the royal family
  • A Facebook account linked to Umno had circulated a false statement attributed to Pang, demanding the Johor royalty not to use the ‘TMJ’ and ‘RZ’ number plates

Loke told reporters to refer to his ministry’s written parliamentary statement on the issue yesterday which neither confirmed nor denied the registration. It also didn’t answer the question on the roadworthiness of the vehicles.

“We have already given a written answer. It’s okay,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Loke also reiterated his response, saying the answer was given yesterday when asked if his ministry was attempting to avoid conflict with the Johor royal house.

In its written reply yesterday, the Transport Ministry only stated that regulations concerning vehicle plate registrations are under the purview of the transport minister and RTD director, but provided no explanation to the ‘TMJ’ and ‘RZ’ licence plate question raised in the Dewan Rakyat by Labis MP Pang Hok Liong.

Pang questioned if the two vehicle number plates used by the royal house were registered with the RTD.

The ‘TMJ’ plate is used for vehicles owned by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, who is popularly known as TMJ, which refer to his royal post in Malay – Tunku Mahkota Johor.

The ‘RZ’ plate is used by the Johor Permaisuri, Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, as it bears her initials.

On Monday (July 1), Johor Opposition leader Datuk Hasni Mohammad filed an emergency motion against Pang for questioning the legality of the two car plates used by the Johor royalty.

However, the emergency motion was shot down by Johor state assembly Speaker Suhaizan Kaiat, who said that there was no urgency to allow the emergency motion.

Several politicians weighed in on Pang, with Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Youth chief Norul Haszarul Abu Samah saying that respect for the royal institution is important.

Haszarul also said that all Pakatan Harapan representatives should be reminded not to question the privileges of the royal institution.

Emphasising that respect for the royal institution is of paramount importance, Haszarul called on Johor Bersatu chief Mazlan Bujang, Menteri Besar Dr Shahruddin Jamal and senator Liew Chin Tong to be firm with Pang.

In his Facebook post today, he said that all Pakatan Harapan representatives should be reminded not to question the privileges of the royal institution, which he described as a symbol of Johor unity.

“For the people of Johor, loyalty to the sultan and the crown prince is unwavering.

Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini

“Johor royal institutions often play a role in balancing political power and ensuring that efficient and caring governance is always carried out for the benefit of the people, irrespective of race, religion and political leanings,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pang has expressed regret if his question concerning number plates had hurt the feelings of the Johor royal family.

“I wish to put on record that I do not hold any disrespect for the Johor royal family.

“That would be the last thing on my mind, and it is with regret if my question has unintentionally hurt the feelings of the Johor royal family,” he added in a statement this afternoon.

The MP regretted how Umno “deliberately and deceptively twisted and spun” the question into a racial issue which could spark an “imaginary war” with the royal family.

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“Umno’s only purpose for the motion was to draw a wedge between me and the royal family. The motion was a veiled attack against me personally and DAP in general,” he said.

Pang also claimed that after failing to push through the motion, a Facebook account linked to Umno had circulated a false statement attributed to him, demanding the Johor royalty not to use the ‘TMJ’ and ‘RZ’ number plates.

“I wish to put on record that I have never issued such a statement,” said the MP, adding that he had lodged a police report on the matter.

Met by reporters in Parliament later, Pang reiterated there was nothing controversial about his question and that he accepted the Transport Minister’s answer on the matter.

“That is the response from the minister. I have to accept it. He referred to a lot of regulations under MOT (Ministry of Transport)…

“At the moment, I have to accept what is given to me,” he said.


Earlier report: July 2, Johor Speaker Rejects Emergency Motion to Debate Legality of TMJ, RZ Number Plates