JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor has expressed his readiness to fulfil his national duty for the country and the people.
Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, who is next in line to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, conveyed his willingness to shoulder the responsibility.
“It is not a promotion. It is a responsibility I am prepared to undertake on behalf of my brother Rulers,” the Sultan said in an interview with a Bernama team led by its chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and editor-in-chief Jamaluddin Muhammad at His Majesty’s private residence here recently.
His Majesty emphasised that the people’s welfare would always be his top priority.
“The rakyat (people) always come first.”
Sultan Ibrahim declined to elaborate, saying it would be best to wait for the meeting of the Conference of Rulers to be over.
The Rulers are expected to choose the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Oct 27 and are likely to uphold the rotation system of electing the new King from among the nine brother Rulers.
The five-year reign of the current and 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah of Pahang, is scheduled to be completed by the end of January next year.
Sultan Ibrahim was proclaimed the Ruler of Johor on Jan 23, 2010.
On Johor, His Majesty envisions a bright future for his state as the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) between Johor and Singapore takes shape, along with the development of a special financial zone in Forest City.
In sharing his vision to position the state prominently on the global map, the Johor Ruler emphasised the importance of attracting more investments, especially from high-tech companies.
“Of course, we want foreign investors. But, if you look at the world, who invests more in this country? So, let’s look into high technology. We are in a position to choose our industries.”
Sultan Ibrahim said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had announced the setting up of the trade zone and financial hub.
His Majesty said during his recent visit to Singapore, Ho Ching – the wife of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former chief executive officer of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek – had expressed interest in collaborating with Johor.
This, the Sultan added, indicated that Singapore liked the idea that there would be trade with a free trade and financial hub.
The Malaysia-Singapore Leaders Retreat, scheduled for next month in the republic, is expected to see further discussions on the SEZ, including finalising the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the zone.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi said recently that with the SEZ, Johor could become the next Shenzhen, a global centre in technology, research, manufacturing, business and economics, finance, tourism and transportation in China.
Sultan Ibrahim also highlighted Johor’s potential to become a significant solar energy producer, given the state’s abundance of land.