Johor quashes talk of state leaving Malaysia

NUSAJAYA - The Johor government has quashed talk of breaking away from Malaysia after a screen capture of an official letter from the Segamat district office calling for the replacement of the Malaysian national flag with state district flags did the rounds online.

Johor State Secretary Ismail Karim said that the state government and the federal government made an agreement to stick together a long time ago.

"It is impossible for the state to simply leave Malaysia and build our own country as it will need to go through a lot of procedures to do so. I hope that after this, if there is any issue or even on Johor to be out of Malaysia, please refer to the state government before making any assumptions," he said yesterday.

On the flag issue, which has since gone viral on social media, Datuk Ismail said that district officer Ahmad Ma'in made a mistake as he had misinterpreted the instructions decreed by Johor Sultan Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim.

The one-page circular bears the district office letterhead and is titled "Pemasangan bendera daerah menggantikan Jalur Gemilang", which means "replacement of the Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory) with district flags".

Earlier, Deputy State Secretary (Management) Amran A. Rahman said the circular referred to small-sized flags and other flag decorations on buildings, roadsides and also those hung on fences to mark National Day. He clarified that the instruction did not refer to the national flag hoisted in schools, government offices and official departments in the state.

Clarifying further, Mr Ismail said: "According to a circular issued by the State Secretary's Office in 2013, these flags are not allowed to be flown except during the Merdeka month, which is two weeks before and two weeks after Aug 31.

"When Tunku Ismail made the remark, he may not realise that it was still in this period."