JOHOR BARU: Non-governmental organisation Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance of Malaysia (Ikhlas) denies it challenged the Johor Sultan on his decision to ban vape trading in the state.
Ikhlas president Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah said there was no reason for the NGO to go against Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar’s decree, as it had always respected the royal institution.
“I was misquoted by certain quarters and I did not challenge Tuanku’s decree,” he told The Star here yesterday.
“I am ready to face any action from the Sultan if anyone can prove that I actually challenged his decision,” he added.
Mohd Ridzuan said it was NGOs such as Ikhlas, Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM) and Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM) that were loyal to the royal institution in any situation.
“We are usually the first ones to sound off and lodge police reports against those who criticised or insult the royalty,” he said, adding that Ikhlas had defended the Johor royal family when insulting comments were made against them via social media.
Mohd Ridzuan also clarified that Ikhlas would obtain the signature of a million voters only if the Government announced a ban on vape nationwide.
He said the proposal to submit a memorandum to oppose the banning of vape was meant for the Prime Minister, not the Sultan of Johor.
“To date, we have collected almost 60,000 signatures from not only vape traders but also the public,” he said.
“However, we have temporarily halted the signature collection, as the Health Minister has assured that it has no plans to ban vaping.”
Mohd Ridzuan also explained that the NGO was suing the Johor Baru City Council for conducting raids on vape traders before the Jan 1 deadline decreed by the Sultan.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Wan Ahmad Najmuddin said the state Narcotics Department chief and all OCPDs had been directed to monitor previously identified vape outlets to ensure that they did not re-engage in the activity.
“We will immediately conduct raids if there are any illegal vape traders operating their businesses in Johor,” he said, warning traders that stern actions could be taken on those caught selling the illegal items.