By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin apologised to the Johor Sultan today, saying he would seek an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar to explain his May 28 tweets on the Ruler’s RM520,000 purchase of the WWW1 vehicle registration number.
But the former Perak mentri besar, who is under investigation for sedition over his statement, shifted the blame to Umno-owned newspaper group Utusan Malaysia’s tabloid Kosmo, saying he was “highly influenced” by their coverage of the Sultan’s bid since April.
The Bukit Gantang MP also said he would sue Utusan Malaysia and TV3 for “falsely accusing me of saying that the Sultan used public funds.”
“I never said that. I was just giving my opinion as a member of the public, an MP and former mentri besar. I apologise to Tuanku and will seek an audience to explain.
“Kosmo reported on May 25 that RM520,000 can buy a house, shoplot, BMW or 2.777kg of gold. So as a former mentri besar I was just pointing out you can also buy 20 low-cost homes,” Nizar (picture) told a press conference.
“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 Program Pembangunan Rakyat Termiskin homes!)” Nizar had said on the micro-blogging site.
But the lawmaker’s remarks drew a swift rebuke from Johor’s Tengku Mahkota Tunku Ismail Idris, who responded via Twitter to say that the state’s royal family does not use public money for personal expenditure.
“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 myself, 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.
The Sultan was also reported to have asked Nizar to apologise to Johoreans for his tweet.
The Ruler’s successful bid of RM520,000 for the WWW 1 number is a record in the country, and beat out almost 10,000 other bidders including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.