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JOHOR BARU: Johor Pas leaders are distancing themselves from former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, whose tweet on the Johor royal family’s bid on the WWW 1 licence plate may wreck its chances in the next general election.
Pas vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who is leading the party’s charge in Johor, yesterday even suggested that the authorities investigate Nizar, a Perak Pas deputy commissioner, to resolve the issue.
He said the party had no objection to police investigations into the matter under the Sedition Act 1948.
Salahuddin, when contacted, reaffirmed the party’s loyalty to the royal institution. He stressed the party’s “utmost respect” for the monarchy, which served as the people’s protector and a symbol of unity.
“Pas is very clear on its stand to uphold the royal institution of Malay rulers. If the police want to continue their investigations (into Nizar), go ahead. We do not have a problem with that.
“We will leave it to the police. Let the matter be resolved through the proper channel. Everyone makes mistakes.”
At least eight reports were lodged by party wings and non-governmental organisations in Johor a day after the tweet was highlighted by the media.
Salahuddin said he had met Nizar after news of his tweet broke.
He said Nizar explained to him that it was not his intention to mock or ridicule Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar spending RM520,000 to bid for the plate number.
However, when asked about Nizar’s motive behind the tweet, Salahuddin said: “Oh, you know, it’s a tweet. People can be very spontaneous when it comes to expressing their views on the social network.”
Johor Pas commissioner Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed said it was the sultan’s right how he led his life and the people should not question it.
“We, as the people, have to respect that and need not comment on such matters. The ruler knows what he is doing. Again, we have to respect him because he knows more than us.”
Pressure continued to mount against Nizar as two protests were held here, despite him tweeting an apology.
A participant at one protest, lorry driver Sivanesh Achunniah, 29, from Ulu Tiram, said Nizar’s statement was unbecoming of a former menteri besar and urged him to properly apologise as his tweet had ridiculed the sultan’s life and insulted the Johor people.
“I love the sultan. He cares for his people. So what if he wants to spend more of his own money? He also did it through a proper channel.”
He was among 300 people who walked in Jalan Trus towards the central police station and handed over a memorandum to the police, urging them to expedite investigations.
The gathering was organised by Johor Baru BN Youth and non-governmental organisations, including Majidee Patriotic Youths, Malaysian Malay Culture Organisation, Johor Baru Government Retirees Association and Limousine and Taxi Operators and Drivers’ Organisation.
Another gathering of 200 people from 4B Youth and Malay rights group Perkasa took place in front of Istana Besar. The youths, dressed in red, held placards criticising Nizar.
Mohd Safid Roslan, 23, said: “Nizar should be mindful of his words about the royal family. He knows nothing about Johor and how we respect and love our sultan.”
T. Somaraj, 21, said Malaysians should view the Johor sultan’s successful bid for the registration number holistically.
“We should look at it in a way that the RM520,000 from the bid by Sultan Ibrahim is, in part, helping the government to generate income, which will help the people.
“Anyway, the ruler’s bid was through a fair and transparent process using his own name and money,” said Somaraj, who works with a multinational in Tampoi.
Chow Weng Chuan, 25, a businessman, agreed that the sultan had a right to bid for the registration number. “I don’t see anything wrong as it is the sultan’s own money and not the people’s money.”
Muhammad Sukimi Isa, 31, a mechanic in Taman Perling, said the issue had been blown out of proportion and it saddened him to see it being politicised.
“Sultan Ibrahim’s personal spending, using his own money, should not affect Johoreans or Malaysians.”
He said politicising the issue was akin to not respecting the ruler and the Johor monarchy.
Zakaria Nawar, 53, who is the Felda Sening manager in Kota Tinggi, said: “The purchase will not only benefit Tuanku, but also the people, including Nizar.”
Johor Athletic Association honorary secretary S. Rajasegram said many people were hurt about the criticism against the sultan because Johoreans adored their ruler for his concern about the people’s welfare.
“This is evident in the annual Kembara Mahkota Johor convoy, which is one way the sultan mixes with his subjects to find out if the government has kept up with its services to the people.”