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Johor Sultan: “MACC and Petronas should report to the King”

Publish date: Sun, 10 Dec 2023, 05:28 PM

IN an interview with the The Straits Times, Johor Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar expressed his wish for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Petronas to report directly to the Agong. The MACC reports to the Parliament but as the new King of Malaysia, he vowed to crack down on graft and he has a solution for that. “You know, people contribute hundreds of millions before elections. How do you pay them back? Giving them mega projects. That’s not going to be the case the moment I’m there. Too bad, who asked you to give?” The Straits Times quoted him as saying. “From my great-grandfather, we were great hunters. I make sure when I go hunting, I bring back nice game. But when I’m in KL, it’s a concrete jungle, so what do I hunt? I’m going to hunt all the corrupt people. I make sure I bring results. “If it comes to the Agong, it means you are not under the influence of anybody from the executive. Even Petronas shouldn’t be under Parliament, report directly to me,” the Johor Ruler further added. Sultan Ibrahim also suggested that judicial appointments must “be separated from the executive - they must be independent”. Judges are appointed by the king, on the advice of the prime minister after an appointment panel recommends candidates. “We only get the list (from the Prime Minister’s Office) during the Conference of Rulers. Why don’t you bring the name down (to us) before you appoint? We are not a rubber stamp.” Sultan Ibrahim also stated that he would revive the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project. Moreover, he emphasised that the HSR between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore should also be aligned such that the border crossing is via Forest City. However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has pointed out the government is open to reviving the HSR but it will not fund the 350km line which was estimated to cost more than RM100 bil (US$29 bil) to build. “I will make it (come back) on,” the Finance Minister insisted, arguing that the line could be funded through a private finance initiative whereby the government pays the contractor to operate the line on a 30-year lease so that it can recoup its costs, before taking ownership of the HSR. “If you stayed to your first proposal, it’s only so much. But because of your on-off-on-off, today it is so much (more),” he said, referring to the initial RM72 bil cost estimate when the rail link was first announced in 2013. The project, promoted by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration was scrapped by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2020. The cost of the project was then estimated at RM110 bil in 2018. - Dec 10, 2023

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