Johor Crown Prince's tweet sparks controversy on social media

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

JOHOR BARU - A tweet by Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim on Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga has sparked a controversy on social media.

In Tunku Ismail's posting on Hari Raya day, he said only the Johor royalty was worthy of wearing a Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga with black pants.

He also made a comparison between an eagle and a sparrow (burung helang dan pipit) flying at different heights and said: "You better know your place and let those dreams be lower than the height of the grass."

His remarks have earned the wrath of many social media users despite him saying that he was merely echoing his grandfather's advice.

Abdul Aziz Isa said: "Keep your grandfather’s advice to yourself, we have our own grandfathers."

Another netizen, Abdul Fatas, said: "Please respect all the human beings... not the dress he wears."

State Unity, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Dr S. Ramakrishnan said it is not wrong for people to voice their opinions but it should be expressed with a sense of respect, especially when it comes to royalty.

Iskandar Puteri city councillor Mohd Azam Mektar said TMJ should accept any negative comments and take them as a way to improve himself.

"TMJ needs to be careful with what he posted online as he is a leader, and people look up to him," he said.

Teacher Lisa Lim said the posting had a snobbish undertone.

"Maybe it was indeed about his grandfather's advice but the words and the way he structured the sentence sound rather condescending for the rakyat.

"What made it worse was the fact that it was posted on social media and people are quick to make a judgment on his remarks."

Political analyst Dr Mohd Akbal Abdullah said some of TMJ's postings were blown out of proportion and many were too quick to draw their own conclusion of what the postings meant.

"People are too sensitive when TMJ talks about anything to do with the royal family.

"Some of them would even come out with their own interpretation," he said.

He added that the post was about a reminder he got from his late grandfather to always remain humble and not arrogant.

A prominent businessman, who declined to be named, said no one should over-read what the TMJ has said.

"He isn't putting down anyone because that was what his grandfather had told him - know your position and don't show off.

"That was the analogy that he wanted to illustrate and it was meant for himself.

"The trouble with social media is that it can take a life of its own and along the way, it gets manifested differently.

"The Johor royalty is known for putting people first and 60,000 people turned up for the Raya open house, and I think that speaks volumes about their popularity," he said.

Local historians say the baju Teluk Belanga style was designed by Sultan Abu Bakar to commemorate the shift of the administrative capital of the Johor empire in 1866 from Teluk Belanga in Singapore to Tanjung Puteri, which is the present Johor Baru.

The attire is styled with a slim-edge round neck with a front slit held by a single button, usually worn with a semi-precious or precious stone.

TMJ has over 88,200 followers on Twitter and 1.8 million followers on Instagram.

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