Sultan's Causeway remark causes a stir
JOHOR BARU: Johor Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail caused a stir during his address at the launch of the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) project yesterday when he digressed from his written text and said the Causeway should be removed.
To the shock of the 2,000 people present and thousands of viewers at home of the live telecast over RTM 1 and TV3, the Ruler said it was built by colonialists who had used dirty tactics to deceive his ancestors.
He said the building of the Causeway was to deliberately prevent ships from passing local waters, resulting in the development of Keppel Port in Singapore instead.
"The Causeway has to be removed to allow ships to pass", the Sultan said before launching the multi-billion SJER. "Tu causeway tu bukakan, baru negeri Johor ini maju", titah baginda.
At this juncture, the audience broke into laughter and applauded.
In his address the Ruler, who was clad in a T-shirt, said he would not "give face” (bagi muka) to the foreigners (Mat Sallehs) and urged the people not to hold them in high regard. "Kita ni jangan tak sedar, jangan kena tipu lagi", titah baginda.
He also reminded locals and their children to be wary of them as they were "vultures".
The Causeway was built in 1920 when Malaya and Singapore were ruled by the British. It is 1,050m long and has railway lines, a road and a water pipeline and is used by tens of thousands of people daily.