KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Johor’s Tengku Mahkota Tunku Ismail Idris took to Twitter last night to defend his father’s RM520,000 purchase of the coveted WWW 1 vehicle number plate, saying the royal family has never used public money for personal spending.
“JOHOR Royal Family does Not take any Money from the Government. Since the time of Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim. Feel free to ask the MB or any Government officials.
“The Money allocated to My Father and I every month as a Sultan and Tunku Mahkota is put into Yayasan Iskandar and Yayasan Ibrahim. The purpose of these foundations (Yayasan Iskandar and Yayasan Ibrahim) is for the Rakyat and to assist the Johor State Government.
“I my self, since the time I was the Raja Muda, Never took 1 cent from the Government till this very Day. Its my Rakyat’s Money. So before You Open your mouth. Do your research,” the Johor crown prince posted on his Twitter account @HRHJohor2 in reply to criticism from the former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
The royal family’s spending habits came under the spotlight after the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Sultan Iskandar, was revealed as the person who beat some 10,000 bidders, including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, to win the tender yesterday.
The amount beat the record set by the number plate MCA 1 in 2010 for RM300,100.
Mohammad Nizar had tweeted yesterday that the Johor Sultan could have used the half a million ringgit instead to help the state’s poor Malays buy homes.
“RM520k bolih dibelanjakan membantu rakyat melayu Johor yg masih ramai miskin serta memerlukan bantuan utk kprluan hidup, bina 20 rumah PPRT!” (RM520,000 can be spent on poor Malays in Johor who need help to survive, and build 20 PPRT (Program Pembangunan Rakyat Termiskin) homes!” the PAS leader said last night on his account @mbnizar.
The Johor royal household is no stranger to controversy.
Earlier this month, four expatriates alleged they were assaulted by royal bodyguards while holidaying on the resort island of Rawa, off the southern state’s coast.
It was the second such reported assault in seven years.
In 2005, six men, said to be from the Johor royal family, were reported to have gatecrashed a Brazilian couple’s wedding on the same island and beat up the guests with golf clubs and sharp objects.