Sultan Ibrahim wants the government to get rid of corruption.
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar said he has been able to work well with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.
“We have worked very well together. I would say it’s better than any other previous prime ministers,” the sultan said of the relationship.
Sultan Ibrahim told The Star in an interview published today that he and Anwar regularly exchange views through meetings and phone calls, especially about his ideas for Johor’s development.
“We consult each other and exchange ideas on how we can develop the state better,” Sultan Ibrahim said.
He added that he was pleased that his proposals had been given proper attention.
The Sultan has been critical of the Federal Government in the past, including saying that the state had been treated like a stepchild.
Last June, he voiced frustrations over the Federal Government’s unfulfilled promises and allocation of funds.
Sultan Ibrahim said some roads in Johor were so bad that “even a blind man travelling in a car to Johor knows he has reached the state when the car turns into the state”.
He pointed out that he had lost his car rim when travelling from Kota Tinggi to Mersing recently.
“At least today, this government is looking into our concerns seriously,” he said.
On his expectations of the government after 100 days, he urged the leaders to clean up the system.
“Change. Clean up the whole system and clear the corrupt, no matter who they are.
“It does not matter if they are reaching 100 (years old) or not reaching 100. No excuse.
“If Najib (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) can be put in jail, what about others?”
His Majesty urged Anwar and other relevant agencies to take the action expected of them by Malaysians.
“Malaysia’s reputation has suffered because of corruption. We need to get rid of this cancer,” he said.
He also spoke about Muslims visiting other houses of worship.
There was no reason to bar Muslims in Johor from visiting houses of worship of other faiths or participating in their festivals as long as they do not take part in non-Islamic rituals or prayers, said Sultan Ibrahim.
“This is very clear, and I have complete trust in Muslims because their faith is strong and unshakable. I do not wish to dwell at length here.
“There is no need for any kind of polemic over this,” he said.
He said guidelines issued by the palace and the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) were clear on the matter.
In February, MAIJ issued a fatwa prohibiting Muslims from attending and participating in religious rituals of other faiths in the state.
Muslims in Johor were allowed to attend events held by those of other faiths as long as there were no religious rituals.
Selangor, however, has a different set of rules whereby Muslims are not allowed to enter houses of worship of other faiths.
This law in Selangor came under the spotlight after a federal government agency ran a programme called “Jom Ziarah” to expose youths to common values shared by other faiths.
The programme included a visit to a church in Klang, Selangor which was eventually cancelled.
Sultan Ibrahim said interfaith values were strong in Johor and he also encouraged non-Muslims to visit mosques to understand Islam better.
“I encourage Muslims to invite non-Muslims to break fast together during the holy month of Ramadan.
“Explain to them the meaning of abstinence and the concept behind this practice, so non-Muslims understand and value Islam better,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Johor sultan also warned politicians not to defy directives from rulers which barred mosques and surau from being used as political platforms.
Doing so would undermine the royal institution, he said, adding that some politicians had already crossed that line.
“Focus your attention on resolving the people’s burdens, such as the cost of living, meeting daily needs, their struggles to pay their household bills and economic concerns.
“What are you doing to alleviate the flood problems which occur every year? Tell us what are you going to do about it. Instead of dividing the people by harping on race and religion, tell me what are your plans to bring harmony,” Sultan Ibrahim said.
He added that the mosque and surau should serve as a base for dakwah (Islamic propagation) and hence only accredited speakers were allowed.
Apart from politics, some preachers, said Sultan Ibrahim, focused more on jokes and entertainment rather than Islam when speaking at mosques.
“If political talks are allowed, it will create uneasiness and disunity among Muslims.
“Do not tell me that politics is part of Islam and politicians can talk freely,” he said, adding that rulers have a responsibility to protect the sanctity of the mosques as the head of Islam.
Recently, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang vowed to continue his weekly Friday sermons at the Rusila mosque, stressing that it was the duty of leaders to talk about politics.
This came after the Terengganu religious council imposed a ban effective March 2 on politicians speaking at mosques.