JOHOREANS may agitate for the state’s secession from the Federation of Malaysia if the federal government continues to overlook its promises towards the state and treat it unfairly, warned Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar on Thursday (16 June).
According to transcripts from his speech at the opening of the First Session of the 15th Johor Legislative Assembly, Sultan Ibrahim said, "If this trend continues, Johoreans may agitate towards secession from Malaysia. Perhaps Johor can be more developed if we stand on our own.
"I feel that Johor is being treated like a stepchild, even though we are among the top contributors to the national economy."
In his speech, the state ruler pointed out that Johor contributed almost RM13 billion annually towards federal revenue, but what it actually received was starkly disproportionate. The state received RM4.6 billion in development funds in this year's Budget.
Sultan Ibrahim also highlighted deteriorating federal government facilities like the Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Hospital Sultan Ismail, and the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex.
He noted in his speech that Putrajaya has failed to keep its promise to expand the North-South Expressway in Johor to six lanes, or to upgrade the Senai-Desaru Highway to four lanes. Many federal roads like the Johor Bahru-Mersing route are also riddled with potholes.
The sultan said that the state has the right to secede it any of the terms under the Federation of Malaya Agreement signed in 1948 and 1957 are breached.
On the claim to Pedra Branca (formerly Pulau Batu Puteh), which the International Court of Justice awarded to Singapore in 2008, the ruler expressed disappointment with Putrajaya's decision to withdraw its application for a judgment review in 2018.
"The then-prime minister made his own decision by ordering the Attorney-General to take leave when the Cabinet had not been formed," Sultan Ibrahim reportedly said.
“The Federal Government did not consult Johor on this decision, even though this involves Johor sovereignty."
On Thursday, the Sultan also announced that crown price Tunku Ismail Idris would be Regent with immediate effect so that he could "rest a while".