Putrajaya—According to Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, the Crown Prince of Johor made certain business and political demands of him that left him “uncomfortable,” and this has changed their relationship.
This, he explained, was the cause of the Crown Prince’s negative attitude toward him.
Where once the two men were close, the personal demands that Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim made on the Youth and Sports Minister had caused a rift between them.
The Star reports that in an interview with the press regarding Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first year in power on Tuesday, April 23, Mr Syed Saddiq, age 26, said that the Crown Prince was “someone whom I was close to, especially before the 14th General Election.
“But before the election, there were some specific demands that he made that I couldn’t fulfill. The demands were political in nature and made me immensely uncomfortable.
If you remember the day I announced my candidacy in Muar was the day he wrote the open letter asking Johoreans not to ‘change ship’.
After the election, we met up twice. There were also some specific demands made which I could not fulfill. Because I personally believe in not interfering in business and bringing demands which may rattle the sports scene.”
An example the Youth and Sports Minister made of such a demand was when the Crown Prince asked that the WBA welterweight championship match featuring world champion Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse that had been scheduled for July 15, 2018, at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, be cancelled.
Mr Syed Saddiq said, “Look back at the hosting of the Manny Pacquiao boxing match.
There were demands for a last-minute cancellation which would have caused a diplomatic crisis because six ministers from the Philippines were here to watch it.
Tens of millions of investment would have been lost because it was to be broadcast live on a hundred international channels.
Datuk Zaiton and I had to seek an audience with Tunku Ismail. This was something I could not defend,” the Youth and Sports Minister told journalists.
“Ask the organisers, ask Pacquaio and ask Datuk Zaiton as she and I had to make an audience with TMJ to be courteous and explain things.”
The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, was also in Malaysia at that time for the boxing match.
He added that as much as he looked up to the Crown Prince as someone from the royal family of Johor, his ultimate loyalty and priority is the people.
“Certain requests which I simply could not defend were asked of me and from there the situation didn’t go that well.
Being young, I personally believe if I don’t stick to my principles, I would lose myself very early on and for what? To appeal to specific groups?
My duty and reason for joining politics is to clean Malaysia and its politics up and to ensure youth interests are represented.
I still humbly respect him as the future Sultan of Johor, but our disagreements will always be there.
In the end, the rakyat will be my priority,”
The Youth and Sports Minister is fighting to lower the voting age in Malaysia to 18, and says that this is one of his top priorities before the middle of his term, which will last for 5 years, the Malay Mail reports.
“It’s one among many other things I’d like to accomplish especially before the mid-terms. It’s a structural reform that will put young people on the national landscape like never before,” he said./TISG