Sultan of Johor causes stir (from the STAR Saturday November 4, 2006)
JOHOR BARU: Johor Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail caused a stir during his address at the launch of the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) today when he digressed from his written text and said the Causeway should be removed. To the shock of the 2,000 people present and thousands of viewers at home of the live telecast over RTM 1 and TV3, the Ruler said it was built by colonialists who had used dirty tactics to deceive his ancestors.
He said the building of the causeway was to deliberately prevent ships from passing local waters, resulting in the development of Keppel Port in Singapore instead. "The causeway has to be removed to allow ships to pass," the Sultan said before launching the multi-billion SJER. At this juncture, the audience broke into laughter and applauded.
In his address the Ruler, who was clad in a T-shirt, said that he would not "give face" (bagi muka) to the foreigners (Mat Sallehs)and urged the people not to hold them in high regard. He also reminded locals and their children to be wary of them as they were vultures. This is the second time the Sultan had created a controversy within two weeks.
Last month, after performing Hari Raya prayers he said that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had already retired and should not interfere in the Government. In the impromptu speech at the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque, he called on Johoreans to continue supporting the Government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
and then Pak Lah replied...
Causeway to stay, says Abdullah (from the STAR Monday November 6, 2006)
ISLAMABAD: The Johor Causeway will remain, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. “It’s obvious that ships will be able to pass through the Johor Straits if the Causeway is removed. “But we are concentrating on developing South Johor into a quality trade and investment centre. “This will also provide economic opportunities for not only Johoreans but all Malaysians. More spin-off activities can also be derived for the benefit of the country,” the Prime Minister told the Malaysian media here yesterday on the sidelines of the World Islamic Economic Forum hosted by Pakistan.
Abdullah said this when asked to comment on a remark by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail, at the launching of the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) in Johor Baru on Friday.
“Causeway tu, bukakan ... baru negri Johor ni maju (the Causeway has to be demolished, only then will Johor develop),” the sultan had said before launching the project.