M’sia police investigating The Independent Singapore’s article about Johor’s Crown Prince

The Independent Singapore has taken down the article and issued a retraction notice.

By Sulaiman Daud | March 7, 2018

The Johor royal court has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement of public condemnation against a Singapore news website.

On March 5, The Independent Singapore published an article that said Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Idris Sultan Ibrahim had made a comment about the public disagreement between Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz and businessman Robert Kuok.

Nazri has challenged Kuok to stand in the upcoming general election, following allegations that Kuok was funding the opposition Democratic Action Party of Malaysia.

The Independent Singapore credited the alleged comments made by the Crown Prince to a “statement circulating in Whatsapp in Malaysia and Singapore.”

Strong condemnation

In a public statement on March 5, President of the Johor Council of Royal Court Dato’ Abdul Rahim Ramli said the following:


I would like to emphasize that all statements made by HM Sultan of Johor and HRH Crown Prince of Johor are only released through The Royal Johor (Royal Press Office) official page, JOHOR Southern Tigers official page and The Star newspaper. If there are any statements from sources other than what I have mentioned, such statements are not true at all.

I strongly condemn the action of Singapore’s The Independent paper http://www.theindependent.sg/johor-crown-prince-chides-no-…/ of using and manipulating HRH Crown Prince of Johor’s statement on a political issue between Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Abdul Aziz and Robert Kuok.

HRH Crown Prince of Johor has never made any statement on the issue. I request everyone to stop linking HM Sultan of Johor and HRH Crown Prince of Johor with political issues. If there are any, it will be released first on The Royal Johor (Royal Press Office) and JOHOR Southern Tigers official pages.

The legal team of the Johor royal family and the Johor chief of police will pursue necessary actions.

Dato’ Abdul Rahim Bin Ramli, President of the Johor Council of Royal Court.

God bless the Sultan.”

The statement was shared on the Facebook page of Johor Southern Tigers, both in Malay and English.


When viewed at 1500 hrs on March 6, the original article has been taken down on The Independent Singapore. Clicking the link brings up the following message:

Screenshot via The Independent Singapore.

Police investigation

However, that may not be the end of it. The Johor authorities are currently investigating the incident.

According to The New Straits Times, Johor’s police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd confirmed the police had received a report on a “fake news and defamatory article” concerning the Crown Prince.

Said Mohd Khalil:

“Preliminary checks show that the article, with the link http://www.theindependent.sg/johor-crown-prince-chides-no-balls-malaysia…’, has been removed by the website’s administrator.

We have opened an investigation paper under Section 500 of the Penal Code, which provides for a fine or two years jail, or both, upon conviction.”

Mohd Khalil also said that the investigation was being done under the Communications and Multimedia Act of 1998, and advised the public to check the authenticity of news on social media or websites.

He added:

“Johor police will not compromise on any party who produces or published fake news which can affect the sensitivity of any party. Stern action in accordance with the law will be taken against anyone found to have misused social media.”

When contacted on March 6 by Today, The Independent Singapore’s publisher Kumaran Pillai said that the publication had not yet been contacted by the Johor police, but it would cooperate with investigations.

He said:

“I received a call on my mobile at 10pm last night from His Royal Highness’s office and we took the article down immediately.”

Previous case

This is not the first time that The Independent has taken down a story about an incident connected to Johor.

Following an accident involving a Singaporean in Johor Bahru on Aug. 25, 2017, The Independent ran a story on Aug. 31, 2017 claiming that a JB hospital had withheld treatment from the victim, pending a cash payment upfront by his family.

However, Malaysia’s Director-General of the Ministry of Health Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah issued a statement on Sept. 1, refuting the claim that treatment was withheld pending payment.

The Malaysian authorities also said that it would file a “formal complaint” with the Singaporean authorities.

The Independent took down their story and put up an apology in its place:

Screenshot via The Independent Singapore

Related stories:

Malaysia health ministry: JB hospital did not demand payment before treating S’porean victims of car accident

M’sia calls out S’pore media for unsubstantiated claims about fatal JB accident

S’pore website theindependent.sg publishes apology for “anguish and distress” in fatal JB accident

Top image via screen shot from JOHOR Southern Tigers’ Facebook page.

About Sulaiman Daud

Sulaiman believes that we can be heroes, if just for one day. His favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi's Twelve. In his spare time he writes about film, pop-culture and international politics, which you are very welcome to read here.

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