The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, has criticised the Federal Government for the lack of funds for the state and said he felt as if Johor was being “treated” like a stepchild.
Speaking at the opening of the First Session of the 15th Johor Legislative Assembly at Kota Iskandar in Iskandar Puteri yesterday (17 June), the Johor Ruler urged Putrajaya to set aside more allocation for the state as Johor is one of the biggest contributors to Malaysia’s economy.
“Johor contributed almost RM13 billion annually in federal revenue, but what it actually received was starkly disproportionate,” said Sultan Ibrahim.
He also said he was unhappy at the state of federal government buildings and facilities, including Sultanah Aminah Hospital, Sultan Ismail Hospital, and the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex, which he said was not properly maintained.
In addition, he said Putrajaya had fulfilled its promise to expand the North-South Expressway and the Senai-Desaru Highway.
He also lamented the pothole-ridden federal roads linking Johor Bahru and Mersing which is “damaged and full of potholes” as they could endanger road users.
At the same time, the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Johor Bahru is also in need of upgrades to its quality of service and comfort level.
“If this trend continues, Johoreans may agitate towards secession from Malaysia. Perhaps Johor can be more developed if we stand on our own,” he said.
Sultan Ibrahim also touched on Johor’s rights under the Federation of Malaya Agreement signed in 1948 and 1957, stressing that if any one of those terms is breached, Johor has the right to secede.
He then lamented the federal government for its decision to drop its claim on Pulau Batu Puteh at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) impinged on the state’s sovereignty, claiming it as an example of the federal government’s “lackadaisical attitude” towards Johor.
“The federal government did not consult Johor on this decision, even though this involves Johor sovereignty,” he said.
According to Sultan Ibrahim, this is a clear breach of Johor’s rights as enshrined in the Federation of Malaya Agreement.