Mahathir called the Johor Crown Prince ‘a small fry’, after the royal was filmed saying ‘it’s better to change the Prime Minister’

Mahathir also said that the prime minister’s post is determined by the people, unlike the Johor Crown Prince, who can be replaced.
The Straits Times

The Johor Crown Prince and Malaysia’s Prime Minister are engaged in yet another war of words.

This time, the Prime Minister has reportedly referred to the royal as a “small fry”.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comment comes after Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim was caught on video saying that the Prime Minister of Malaysia should be changed.

After football club Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) lost to Shandong Luneng in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday (April 24), one fan chanted: “Change (JDT’s coach Benjamin) Mora”.

The Crown Prince, who also owns JDT, stuck his head out the passenger seat window and said to fans in Malay: “Instead of changing Mora, it’s better to change the prime minister,” Malaysiakini reported.

When addressing reporters at China World Hotel on Sunday (April 28), Malaysia’s Prime Minister did not hold back in his response to the comment.

He was quoted by Malay Mail as saying: “He’s not big, he’s a small fry. If he thinks he’s big, go and vote and bring me down.”

According to The Star, Mahathir also said that the Prime Minister’s post is determined by the people, unlike the Johor Crown Prince,who can be replaced.

Mahathir added: “There was a time when the TMJ (Tunku Mahkota Johor) was changed and (the post was) given to his younger brother. So a TMJ can be replaced (but) a prime minister can only be changed by the people,” The Star reported.

Mahathir is believed to be referring to the time when the late Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail of Johor lost his crown prince status in 1961 over alleged misbehaviour.

He was subsequently replaced by his younger brother before being reinstated by his father as crown prince in 1981.

This is not the first public spat between the two. Mahathir and Tunkul Ismail have a history of not getting along, with the most recent argument resulting in a threat by Mahathir on April 9 to take action if the Crown Prince made any statements about the government that were deemed to be seditious.

According to The Star, the royal had questioned why the issue of the Rome Statute was prioritised by the government when there were many other issues that he said the government should focus on.

Tunkul Ismail fought back against Mahathir’s threats, saying in a tweet translated by The Star: “If I have to go down for upholding the Constitution, the Malay Rulers and Islam. By all means. You know where to find me.”

“Like a normal citizen, I have the right to ask questions and give my opinion. I’m all yours. Finish what you start,” he added.

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