Johor Sultan says not interested in debating Mahathir

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JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor said today he is not interested in debating with Dr Mahathir Mohamad or engaging in polemics.

According to a report in The Star, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar said he was only interested in the welfare of his people and not politics.

“I have said what needs to be said. Enough is enough. I make statements that are based on facts and figures, and not on a Western news report.

“I don’t make assumptions or create fears, that’s all. I do not want to lower myself,” The Star quoted him as saying.

Sultan Ibrahim said this when asked to comment on a reply by Dr Mahathir to the ruler’s remarks, which had followed statements by Dr Mahathir against the Forest City development and the implications of an “influx” of China nationals to Johor.

The Star reported that Dr Mahathir had claimed over 700,000 Chinese nationals would be brought into Forest City, and that they would be given identity cards to enable them to vote in the next general election.

On Monday, Sultan Ibrahim gave facts and reasons as to why there was no cause for alarm over China’s investments in Johor. He also accused Dr Mahathir of fear-mongering by playing racial politics.

In response, Dr Mahathir said in a letter to The Star, which appeared yesterday, that he was quoting a report by Bloomberg on the details of Forest City.

The 1,386-hectare Forest City project, to be built on four man-made islands in Iskandar Malaysia, is expected to take about 30 years. It involves the development of facilities for business, tourism, hotel, residence, and services.

Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin was reported to have earlier said: “After 30 years, maybe there will be 700,000 foreigners in Johor but it is unlikely all of them will be Chinese nationals.”