Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar says Dr Mahathir Mohamad is putting his political interests above that of Malaysian interests, particularly those of Johor, The Star reported in an exclusive interview with the state monarch.
“Enough is enough. I have so far restrained myself from commenting on the controversy on Forest City generated by Dr Mahathir and his supporters.
“I did not wish to intervene in politics but I have to set the record straight as the facts have been twisted by people with twisted minds and intentions,” the Johor ruler said.
Admitting to being “deeply offended and hurt” by the political spin used by certain politicians against mainland Chinese investments in the state, the ruler said if left unchecked, the comments by the former prime minister would drive away investors.
“Take a look at the number of foreigners who have bought properties in Singapore. Are the Singaporeans in that tiny island republic worried? No, they are not and they, in fact, welcome affluent expatriates there,” Sultan Ibrahim told the daily.
The ruler was referring to reports over the past few months, where Mahathir had been attacking the Forest City development project in Johor.
Forest City, when completed, will sit on four artificial islands developed by Country Garden Pacific View.
Sultan Ibrahim said Mahathir singling out the mainland Chinese buyers and investors was also wrong as the mixed development project in Forest City was available for anyone around the world to buy, including Johoreans.
“He is insulting these rich Chinese property investors. They buy homes here because they can see the strategic importance of Johor. JB is just minutes away from Singapore and Batam – two different countries.
“JB is also set to be the next Klang Valley with just a 90-minute train ride once the high speed rail is linked between KL and JB.
“Anyone can see how the property price of JB will shoot up but Mahathir prefers to create fear,” the Johor ruler said.
Referring to the overall development and long-term benefits that would be derived from the Forest City project, Sultan Ibrahim said the spillover effect would be enormous, including revenue for the state government in terms of taxes and about 200,000 job opportunities.
“Dr Mahathir had also left out the spin-off effects of these property developments.
“Instead of Johoreans going to Singapore or KL to look for jobs, we will see people from Klang Valley flocking to JB instead.
“Not only will foreigners be spending money in Johor but Malaysians from outside JB will also spend money in the state,” Sultan Ibrahim said, according to The Star.
He also chided Mahathir for forgetting his own Look East policy in the past.
“When he was prime minister, he asked Malaysians to Look East but now he is criticising when Chinese investors come here to invest,” the Johor ruler told The Star, adding that the purchase of homes and investment in Forest City was also aligned to the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, which was launched in 2002 during Mahathir’s time.
Source : @ FMT Online