Source: Tunku Idris/Instagram

Johor prince Tunku Idris indicates interest in contesting in GE15; Malaysian netizens question possible conflict of interest

Johor prince Tunku Idris Iskandar Sultan Ibrahim made waves across the Internet yesterday (29 Apr) as he posted Instagram Stories hinting at his intention to contest in the next Malaysian General Election (GE).

A report by Sin Chew Daily stated that the second son of Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who is the ruler of the southernmost state in Peninsular Malaysia, had posted an Instagram Story with the hashtag “#PRU15” alongside a poll, leaving viewers to choose between the constituencies of Muar and Mersing.

The majority of viewers who answered the poll chose Muar at 75 per cent, while the remaining 25 per cent opted for Mersing, reported Malay Mail.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman – who has also been in the spotlight for his soured relations with Tunku Idris and his brother Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim – currently holds the Muar parliamentary seat.

Malaysian netizens questioned Tunku Idris’ motive behind expressing his intention to run for either the constituency of Muar or Mersing as an MP, particularly in the wake of rising tensions between Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Johor royal household over the issue of monarchical powers.

A number of netizens have subsequently argued against his suitability for the post, given that Tunku Idris is a member of the Johor royal household:

However, one commenter argued that there is no concrete reason as to why the Johorean prince should not be allowed to contest in the next GE15, as he does not hold the same powers as a Ruler such as a King or Sultan:

According to the Malaysian Election Commission (SPR)’s general guidelines for electoral candidates, there is no clear and explicit provision that prohibits royals from contesting for the post of an MP, as listed below:

Based on SPR’s guidelines, candidates are generally required to be:

  • Malaysian citizens residing in the Federation during the electoral period;
  • Be of not less than 21 years old on the date of announcement of running candidates.

Candidates may be disqualified from running in GEs or by-elections if they are:

  • Found to be “defective” in mind;
  • Found to have unresolved bankruptcy cases;
  • Found to hold a “salaried position”;
  • Found to have failed to produce a statement of expenses as required by law within the stipulated period of time;
  • Found to have been convicted by a court in the Federation (or before Malaysia Day, within the territories in Sabah and Sarawak or Singapore), and has been sentenced to no less than 1 year’s imprisonment or a fine of not less than RM2,000 and has not received pardon; or
  • Found to have obtained or used foreign citizenship, or have pledged allegiance to any foreign country.