Young Johor royals are getting noisier as the Federal govt ignores them and the noise could keep affecting us further.
The Crown Prince of Johor warned in an interview published on Oct 16 on a footie website (I kid you not) that the state has every right to secede from Malaysia if it finds a breach to the terms agreed upon its membership to the Federation of Malaysia
Four months ago, his younger brother Idris Sultan Ibrahim had also posted a warning on Instagram that the southern state may secede from Malaysia if the conditions upon which Johor had joined the Malaysian Federation are violated.
In the post, which was later deleted, he issued a reminder that the Johor government had joined the Malay Federation in 1946 on several conditions. These included: making Islam the religion of the state, the state’s absolute right over water and land issues, and the state royal house to have its own armed forces.
Remember the hike in the toll rate by M’sia last yr that took the S’pore govt by surprise (Ah Loong and Najib had a love-fest juz before the announcement)? S’pore matched this hike after waiting a few months. From Oct 1 last year a round trip rose from a few dollars to S$13 (the collapse of the M$ has reduced this recently by a little). Result? Less S’poreans do their shopping in Johor. The hikes cut the cost advantage significantly if one travelled by car. There are allegations that the prices of vegetables rose too because lorries have to pay the levy. Bus prices went up by as much as 50%, it seems.
The story I heard then from very reliable M’sian sources was that the Federal govt hiked the rate (knowing S’pore would follow) to cause problems for the sultan of Johor. It seems it wanted to send him a message not to try to grab power. There was a big row when a bill was introduced in the Johor legislature giving the sultan, in his own right, the power to appoint the head of a Johor state land agency. By convention such appointments are by the sultan acting on the advice of the chief minister.
The bill was then amended so that the head was appointed by the sultan acting on the advice of the chief minister.
The rise in the toll made life a lot harder for businesses that depended on S’poreans crossing over to spend their money on cheaper goods and services. This is not good for Johor and the royal family. And there is the added bonus of making Chinese voters repent: the MP of a large part of Iskandar is the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, the hero of the M’sian Chinese.
But as the latest actions of the younger royals seem to indicate, royalty in Johor are still upset with the Federal govt and who can blame them*? They are trying to take advantage of the 1MDB issue and the PM’s fight for political survival
Meanwhile Johor businesses continue to suffer.
The continuing row adds further pressure to property prices in Iskandar which is facing a glut of supply https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/iskandar-prices-off-a-cliff-already-stabilising/.
It seems the Chinese developers are already having second tots about the projects they announced so confidently earlier this year and late last year https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/how-many-waterfront-cities-will-eventually-be-built/ . Johor royalty is involved in many of these Chinese projects.
Expect more noise from the young royals which will in turn affect property values in Iskandar. Who wants to buy property in a state threatening secession?
LKY got it about right when he asked why invest in Johor where the rules can suka suka be changed overnight?
*Despite another hike** in April this year https://atans1.wordpress.com/2015/04/11/iskandar-developers-must-be-desperate/. S’pore hasn’t followed.
**Yet to be implemented I forgot to add. (Update at 1.30pm)