The Star on Sunday, 27 December, published an exclusive interview with the Sultan of Johor who spoke with them on an array of issues
Speaking on topics related to his views on PM Najib Razak and his relations with former DPM Muhyiddin Yassin, while the Sultan of Johor made it clear that he does not want to meddle in politics, the Monarch didn't mince his words when it came to lambasting the elected representatives of the rakyat for politicising issues of health
Describing vaping as a "technology drug", which was threatening the society, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said that he was "fed up of the various authorities at both the state and federal levels, which could not decide on what to do" and so he had to take the step to ban all vaping-related products in Johor.
In reference to warnings by Bumiputera NGO leaders who said BN would lose votes in the next election if it banned vaping, the Sultan of Johor said: "They were dragging their feet and some politicians were making silly remarks such as vaping should not be banned because a million votes would be lost and bumiputra interest would be affected." He added that he knows what is good and is firm on his order against vape beginning 1 January 2016.
To all those who are opposing the ban of vape, the Johor Sultan, while referring to right-wing activist Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah as "comedian in red", asked, "Do you not care about people's health?"
Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah, better known as 'Kipidap', is often seen wearing a red beret, and has made headlines for lodging more than 1,000 police reports against opposition politicians and NGO leaders.
He recently joined other Malay-based NGOs to say that Barisan Nasional risks losing a million votes in the next GE if the authorities continue the crackdown on e-cigarettes and vape-related products. Our friends at Cilisos have an in-depth piece on him.
The Sultan, who has banned vape in the southern state, said that the issue of vape is "purely a health issue" but it's incredible how some "mindless politicians are talking about politics and race"
"I can show the many e-mails and letters I have received from all over Malaysia, especially from parents, expressing their support for Johor's decision to lead. Now other states are also following suit and even the National Fatwa Council has declared vaping as haram. To me, education and health should not be politicised."thestar.com.my
On another matter, the Sultan also questioned why the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) required an RM1 billion budget. It should be noted that just one month ago a Deputy Minister had said the budget is not enough for the Federal religious agency.
"I am curious to know – if it is true – why do they need an RM1 billion budget? Does it include allocations to all the states? During my next Conference of Rulers, I want them to show me their breakdown for expenses. I want to know if they are financing our religious schools here."thestar.com.my
The Malaysian Insider reported in November that Jakim was allocated nearly RM1 billion of taxpayer's money this year, with the bulk of it going to policy activities that include thwarting the attempts by "deviant groups'" to lead Muslims here astray.
Responding to the article, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said Jakim needed more than RM1 billion to meet the demands of Malaysian Muslims and combat those who oppose Islam's position as the religion of the federation.
But critics had accused Jakim of being unconstitutional and encroaching into the powers of the state rulers, who were heads of religion for their respective states.
Sultan Ibrahim affirmed the rulers' positions, and said Jakim's powers were limited to advising or proposing guidelines to them. He said it was up to the sultans to accept Jakim's advice, adding that Jakim had no right to interfere in the state.