I HAD initially not wanted to say anything about the verbal exchange between the Sultan of Johor and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the subject of “Bangsa Johor”.
My feeling is, every Malaysian state has the right to be proud of their history and to promote their uniqueness. We are a federation and not a unitary nation. Each state has autonomy in the form of its supreme ruler – the Sultan, Raja and Yam Tuan.
But Dr Mahathir thought that the promotion of “Johor nationalism” is unhealthy for Malaysia and can lead to the collapse of the federation. He had said that while it is within the right of the Johor royalty to promote the idea, it was only with unity that Malaysia could prosper.
“Well, it is their right to promote the idea. But to me, if each state tries to be separate, then the federation will collapse. We need to work together because only with unity can we prosper,” he said when said in response to a question from the floor at the 20th Perdana Dialogue Series on Aug 24.