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photo: screen capture from the Astro Awani video

Johor Crown Prince: “If I can’t remind leaders, then they have to put me in jail”

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was planned to speak about football matters on a local television talk show, ‘Obviously Harith Iskandar’, on Astro Awani, last Saturday night (30 July).

But in his dialogue - although only indirectly - his concern with recent happenings in his country can be felt, namely the 1MDB scandal.

Beside talking about his training, family and football, he too spoke on matters that Malaysians are concerned about the country.

Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is noted for speaking his mind, and he said he did so to remind the leaders to serve the people with integrity, dedication and devotion.

"Whatever I voice up is not personal to anyone. It is just a reminder. If I can't even remind leaders in this country who are there to serve the people, what is the point of me being here?" he asked.

"If that is a crime, then they have to put me in jail, because I am going to continue to do it," he said.

"I was brought up by my family, especially my father and grandfather, always to be honest and straightforward.

"Sometime we have to be diplomatic, but I prefer to be direct to get the message across, otherwise people won't take it seriously," he said.

He also revealed he will meet Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on 12 August.

He said he will pass on the messages of the people to the PM: "I am invited for tea with the prime minister on (Aug) 12. So, if you have any message you want to pass to him, you can see me after the show," he said.

However, he did not elaborate on the purpose of his session with Najib.

Tunku Ismail also urged the royal families in the country to play a role in the matters that required them to speak up.

Ha also said that you have to make a decision for what is best for the country, not a decision to avoid not getting any vote.

Citing his father, Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, he stressed that education, religion and business should never be mixed with politics.

"When you involve these three things with politics, you will give birth to corruption," he said.

"There are a lot of things you can get out of me, and this is the time you can ask me a lot of questions. I think you have heard that the government has a new law now, on Monday. By the way, Astro, do not worry, I am not going to say something stupid, no one is going to get in trouble," he quipped.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who is also the finance minister, might just be facing yet another challenge to his political legitimacy after the Department of Justice in United States filed lawsuits to seize properties that were allegedly purchased by misappropriated funds from 1MDB, a Malaysian government-run strategic development company.

So far, DoJ has only named the person who is the main beneficial of the misappropriated funds as a "high-ranking official in the Malaysian government who also held a position of authority with 1MDB.

Last year, Najib sacked the then Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, replace then attorney-general Gani Patail as well as displace top Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers involved in the 1MDB investigation, which "strongly suggested" a conspiracy to cover up the scandal.

The crown prince also poked fun at the controversial National Security Council Act, without quite naming it.

He said it is still safe talking about the matters because the new law was not yet in order (at the time).