If Mahathir says we can’t trust Rulers, he should also stop trusting Japanese

“You can’t just go around claiming things about someone based on events that happened almost two centuries ago. Circumstances change, as do people, cultures, sensibilities and wisdoms. Sultan Sir Ibrahim is dead and gone and has since been replaced by his grandson. Is Mahathir saying that we can’t trust the current Sultan of Johor just because he never trusted Sir Ibrahim? Wasn’t it he who told us never to trust the DAP but now says the DAP is ‘reformed’?”

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned yesterday that granting absolute power to Rulers would risk them putting their personal interests before the states. In presenting his case – which basically, is all about Rulers being useless – he claimed that the previous Sultan of Johor “sold off” Singapore to the British and spoke of it happening “many times.” If that’s the case, Mahathir should also stop borrowing money from Japan because the Japanese slaughtered the Chinese “hundreds of thousands of times” years after the Sultan of Johor “sold off” Singapore.

That makes absolute sense

Of course it does.


And if we’re going to talk about the Ruler of Johor “selling off” Singapore, we should also talk about the Japanese “selling out” the Ruler of Johor. Once we do, we will see that if we can’t trust the Rulers for “selling off” Singapore, we should also not trust the Japanese for “selling out” the Rulers.

How did the Japanese “sell out” the Rulers?

Following the fall of Kota Bharu, Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita set his sights on Singapore and decided to seek the assistance of Tokugawa Yoshichika, a descendent of the famous Tokugawa clan. Tokugawa was a close personal friend of the late Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al Masyhur, the great-great-grandfather of the Tengku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Idris.

When Yamashita’s troops were ready to conquer Singapore, the general got Tokugawa to accompany him to Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the Sultan of Johor. There, Yamashita expressed his support a United Malay Sultanate with Sir Ibrahim as its figurehead. In return, Ibrahim allowed Yamashita and his men to set base at Istana Bukit Serene, thinking that the plan was to chart a course towards establishing the said Sultanate.

However, Yamashita ended up using the Palace as a base to plan an assault on Singapore and made it seem as if the Ruler of Johor had conspired with him. Following the assault, family members of the Malays who died in battle blamed the Palace of Johor of betraying them. Till today, you have veteran Malays in Singapore claiming that Sir Ibrahim worked with the Japanese to ‘regain’ control Singapore before his eventual fallout with General Yamashita.

But that’s really not what happened.

Does Mahathir know about this?

Mahathir knows a great many things but pretends he knows nothing. He will pull just about any historical fact from the textbook, add some ajinomoto to it before dishing it out to you as gospel. Youngsters are easily duped by him as they aren’t well exposed to history. But that’s only because he spent three years as Minister of Education oversimplifying everything related to the Monarchs to keep you from loving them.

What is the moral of the story?

The moral of the story is this – you can’t just go around claiming things about someone based on events that happened almost two centuries ago. Circumstances change, as do people, cultures, sensibilities and wisdoms. Sultan Sir Ibrahim is dead and gone and has since been replaced by his grandson. Is Mahathir saying that we can’t trust the current Sultan of Johor just because he never trusted Sir Ibrahim? Wasn’t it he who told us never to trust the DAP but now says the DAP is ‘reformed’?

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