JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor strongly rebuked Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the former prime minister’s disapproval of the Bangsa Johor concept.
Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar expressed his displeasure over the remarks made by Dr Mahathir that the concept could disunite the people.
“Tun Mahathir’s uncalled for remarks reflect his complete ignorance of Johor’s history.
“My great-grandfather Sultan Sir Ibrahim in 1920 made the clarion call Bangsa Johor to unite the various races in Johor under one flag for greater cooperation, harmony and peaceful existence. No race or individual was marginalised. He has been proven correct.
“The Bangsa Johor concept was initiated even before Tun Mahathir was born. He has no idea of what he is talking about,” said the Sultan.
Dr Mahathir, asked for his opinion about the Bangsa Johor concept at the 20th Perdana Dialogue Series themed “Federal-States Relations” at the Perdana Leadership Foundation yesterday, had said unity among Malaysians could slide if the people practised too much parochialism.
Dr Mahathir said the people should all be known as Malaysians, instead of the people of Johor or Kedah because “only when we are united can the nation prosper”.
While Johor has the right to promote the idea of Bangsa Johor, Dr Mahathir said what should be pushed instead was for the people to embrace that they are all Malaysians rather than identifying themselves from the state they originate from.
“After all, we are all citizens of Malaysia, irrespective of our colour, religion, ethnicity or even position,” Dr Mahathir had said.
Sultan Ibrahim yesterday said Dr Mahathir was not qualified to talk about unity.
“He is going around dividing the people including the Malays, while I am uniting Malaysians of all races including the Malays,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim said Dr Mahathir should understand all states enjoyed their own unique pride but that did not mean they were leaving the Federation.
“It is a figment of Dr Mahathir’s imagination. He is stirring the hornet’s nest and my advice to him is to keep his mouth shut.”
Sultan Ibrahim said Dr Mahathir had earned a reputation for being a confrontational person who had caused division, especially in his foreign relations policy.
“He has quarrelled with many world leaders including with our neighbour Singapore and putting Malaysia in a spot.
“And now he talks about unity with an incredible straight face.
“Tun Mahathir is the root cause of the present problems in the country. He has no right to interfere in my state. I will not tolerate his antics,” the Johor Sultan said.