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Johor Sultan broached key state-specific issues during audience with PM Anwar, says source

Johor Sultan broached key state-specific issues during audience with PM Anwar, says source

JOHOR BARU, Dec 30 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been asked to look into several issues in Johor by its Ruler Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ibrahim after he was granted an audience during an official state visit here today.

According to a source, the main topics discussed during Anwar’s meeting with Sultan Ibrahim at Istana Bukit Serene here were the proposed Maharani Energy Gateway in Muar, the Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) controversy and the revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project.

He said the hour-long discussion that started at about 10.30am touched on these three main topics in addition to other infrastructure-based projects that were seen as important for the state.

“Sultan Ibrahim, as the state’s Ruler, is keen for the federal government to assist in Johor’s development, starting with the Maharani Energy Gateway mega project in Muar.

“The priority now is for the federal government to gazette the Maharani Energy Gateway project, that aims to create an energy hub and deep-sea port which involves the creation of three man-made islands covering an area of 1,295 hectares,” the source told Malay Mail today on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

The source was commenting on the discussion between Anwar and the state monarch at Istana Bukit Serene earlier today.

Also present was Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Iskandar.

Anwar, who is the Tambun MP, was accompanied by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

However, the Maharani Energy Gateway project is not without its controversies as it is feared that its development will impact mangroves and the livelihood of local fishermen.

The source also revealed that Sultan Ibrahim had expressed his concerns over the Pulau Batu Puteh controversy and its sovereignty.

“With Pulau Batu Puteh now belonging to Singapore, there will be disputes over overlapping claims for maritime areas.

“In addition, there were reports that Singapore was carrying out reclamation work on the island, even though the decision on the maritime border was still under negotiation and had not been finalised,” said the source, adding that Sultan Ibrahim wanted the federal government’s commitment to the best solution related to the issue to maintain and defend Malaysia’s independence, sovereignty and security.

In 2018, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad withdrew an application to overturn the International Court of Justice (ICj) ruling awarding legal jurisdiction of Pulau Batu Puteh to Singapore.

On June 16, Sultan Ibrahim, in his opening speech at the State Legislative Assembly, expressed disappointment with the federal government’s decision to withdraw its application for a judicial review on Batu Puteh in 2018.

The source said another important topic discussed was the resumption of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project.

“There have been numerous calls for the KL-Singapore HSR project to be revived again as it would benefit Johor,” he said.

The KL-Singapore HSR project was axed on January 1, 2021, with the Malaysian government having to pay Singapore RM320 million in compensation as part of its obligation under the bilateral agreement.

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