Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today voiced his concerns over the power struggle between Malay leaders, which he said could divide and weaken the Malays. (Bernama photo)

JOHOR BARU: Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar today voiced his concerns over the power struggle between Malay leaders, which he said could divide and weaken the Malays.

In a statement released in conjunction with his 59th birthday, Sultan Ibrahim said that as a ruler who has promised and vowed to protect the interests of the Malays and Islam, he could not let the crisis continue.

“Today is a joyous day for me as I have been given the health and prosperity to celebrate my 59th birthday. I am thankful for the rapid development and strong economic growth that Johor has achieved and proud of the high racial and religious tolerance among the people, which has created a strong and united Bangsa Johor, a most precious gift for me.

“However, on this historic day, I want to express my deep concern on a crisis that is haunting the Malays at this moment, a power struggle between the various Malay leaders," he said.

The ruler said that from one day to the other, the Malays are being dragged into a “credibility crisis” that would damage the image of and the trust for institutions led by the Malays, which in the end would reduce their confidence, influence and real power.

“Such deterioration has me worried and I have made a stand to remind the Malays to find a solution quickly. Come what may, the interest and influence of the Malays must be properly maintained without compromise or excuses. (This is true) especially in Johor, where the most organised and successful Malay struggle began and continues to be a fortress in this country," said the sultan.

He said the Malays have to rise together to become a strong and influential race without offending or sidelining other races.

“Don't be too busy shouting about the special rights but become complacent and in conflict with each other.”

Sultan Ibrahim said leaders must consider every approach and find the best solution to make the Malays' position better and more respected.

“I would like to advise the Malay leaders to cooperate and be open-minded and sit together to discuss the issues facing the Malays and to focus on improving the dignity and maintain the interests of the Malays.

“Show your sincerity in fighting for the fate of the Malays, not take every advantage to serve your own interests,” he said.

He said Malay leaders need to regain the Malays' sense of trust and loyalty to them.

“I am confident that with peace and a common consensus, all problems and challenges can be overcome in order to achieve the same goal, which is to strengthen the position and influence of the Malays.

“Finally, I hope all Malays leaders and the people themselves would work hard for the interest of the race. May all these efforts bear huge benefits for the country and future generations. Insya-Allah."

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