Can’t talk too much, Tunku Ismail tells supporters at palace gates

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(June 16): In a jibe at Putrajaya, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim today said he "cannot talk too much" because many in the federal government wanted to "whack" him.

Tunku Ismail addressed a crowd of about 2,000 people who had gathered at the gates of Istana Bukit Serene, Johor Baru, in a show of support for the prince who has been in a spat with federal minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz over the right of a member of the royalty to speak critically of the executive.

"First of all, I give my heartfelt thanks to the people and citizens of Johor for supporting me.

"I cannot talk too much because many in Putrajaya want to whack me," Tunku Ismail said to the crowd.

Nazri, who is the minister of Tourism and Culture, on Saturday had chided the prince for commenting on politics and said the royal risked getting "whacked", because members of the monarchy are meant to stay above politics.

Nazri's remarks were in response to Tunku Ismail's criticism of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who failed to turn up at the "Nothing to Hide" forum on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) on June 5.

The crowd today voiced their approval with claps and more shouts of "Daulat Tuanku" after Tunku Ismail said that he would continue to be a "slave of the people of Johor" and would speak up when necessary.

"I want to stress that I will always uphold the sovereignty of Johor and will continue speaking out when needed for the sake of the welfare of the people of Johor and of Malaysians.

"As instructed by my father, I am a slave to the people of Johor," he said, in a speech that lasted less than a minute.

The Malay NGOs that organised today's rally did so under umbrella group Majlis Penyelaras Gabungan NGO Melayu Negeri Johor (Gabung Johor).

Hours earlier though, Nazri told reporters in Sekinchan that although the prince had said he was voicing the people's concerns, it was he (Nazri) who was an elected representative and as such, he had the right to speak for his constituents.

Among the Malay NGOs present was Perkasa Johor, which said that it wanted both Nazri and Najib to step down.

Perkasa Johor information chief Rosli Othman was in the midst of saying this when speaking to reporters present, when he was cut off by the representative of another NGO, Abdullah Md Yusof of Gabung Johor.

"Nazri should resign, the prime minister should also resign…" Rosli said before Abdullah interjected.

"No, no. I disagree with that. The issue today is for us to state our support to the Johor royalty. Nothing else," said Abdullah. – The Malaysian Insider