Under Surveillance – Sultanate Of Johor Is Paying The Price For Playing Politics, Betting The Wrong Horse

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Sep 11 2018
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Those who live by the sword, die by the sword – goes the proverb which can be traced back to the ancient Greek. It basically means what goes around comes around. To be precise, it means those who live by violence will die by violence. Guess who just complained about being victimized when he heroically played the same game but lost.


The infamous Crown Prince of Johor has alleged that he and his father Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim are “being monitored”. The prince – Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim – also claimed that cybertroopers were active on their personal and Johor Southern Tigers Facebook pages. The prince was furious when was told the royal family is under surveillance, using covert intelligence systems.


Apparently, the prince said he had been approached by an individual to buy a surveillance device, which he described in his Facebook post as “Israeli-made” and “used to spy on people and gather intel”. He claimed government officials had informed him that the device was used by agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Special Branch (police intelligence agency) and even the Prime Minister’s Office.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim

He said – “It is not nice when officials come to me saying that my father, the Sultan and Johor and I are being monitored. And that there are cybertroopers planted, waiting in case there is something that does not go down well with certain higher-ups. I know the former government used this, but this is supposed to be Malaysia Baru – it is no place for such practices any longer.”


Did the crown prince just admit that while the Sultanate of Johor is greatly offended of being monitored by the new Pakatan Harapan government, they were perfectly alright with the previous Barisan Nasional government doing the same surveillance on his family? Otherwise, why did the crown prince play politics by supporting the corrupted and evil Barisan?


Yes, the crown prince had gone the extra mile throwing the Sultanate of Johor’s support for the scandal-plagued Najib Razak roughly a month before the 14th general election on May 9th. In April, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim wrote – “Don’t changes the boat if the engine is not broken, don’t even change the skipper but allow HM The Sultan of Johor and I to work with the skipper.”

Tea Session - Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail and PM Najib Razak

While maintaining he was politically neutral, the Crown Prince of Johor took a swipe at Pakatan Harapan Chairman Mahathir Mohamad, saying Johor will not forget what he had done. He warned Johoreans not to be duped by a “forked-tongue” individual, a leader who had stripped the rulers of their power, a reference to the constitutional crisis in the 1990’s during Mahathir’s first administration.


Tunku Ismail’s comments raised eyebrows because Malaysia’s royal houses usually stay above the political fray. His remarks, however, invited criticisms from netizens who were already angered with Najib regime. To pacify the angry people, the crown prince was forced to splash RM1 million to treat grocery shoppers, an attempt clearly to repair his image.


The following month after the May 9th, of course, the 93-year-old Mahathir returned and was made the country’s seventh prime minister after Pakatan Harapan coalition came to power. And like many who had bet on Najib’s victory, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was both flabbergasted and shocked for betting the wrong horse. Even his state of Johor fell to the new government.

Sultan Ibrahim and Sultanah Johor, Raja Zarith Sofia

Like others, the crown prince quickly changed his tune. His father was the first amongst the monarchies who urged the Agong (King) to immediately consent to swear in the new prime minister – Mahathir Mohamad – after the swearing process was delayed unnecessarily. Later, the Crown Prince of Johor claimed he has a good working relationship with the new Pakatan state government in Johor.


The crown prince’s claim of being under surveillance, however, has been denied by the Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun, the MCMC, and Deputy Home Minister Azis Jamman. But even if it’s true that the new Pakatan government has been monitoring the royal house, can the Sultanate of Johor blame Mahathir administration in the first place?


Perhaps Kadir Jasin, the communications adviser to PM Mahathir, has the answers for the royal house – “Anybody who plays politics must be prepared to be treated like a politician more so when he or she takes to the media – social and formal – to air partisan views.” Kadir reminded those who are active online to accept that they may be “monitored”, by foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.

Kadir, who courted controversy recently when he raised questions on the huge expenditures spent on the Agong (King), wrote in his blog that instead of worrying about being monitored, the Johor royal house should worry if they have been “straying into the political arena where they may get clobbered, their immunity questioned and their status lowered.”


But if the Sultanate of Johor has no intention of doing something that will threat the national security, the outspoken royal house has absolutely nothing to fear even if the federal government is indeed monitoring them. After all, Tunku Ismail had claimed in 2016 that his phone was being tapped and that his movements were being monitored by the Special Branch. Yet, he still supported Najib.


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