Political adversary is not uncommon in Malaysia, but the constant nasty back-and-forths between Johor Crown Prince (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Muar MP Syed Saddiq is definitely something to behold.
Recently, the prince made headlines for his shocking reaction to a question by one of his Instagram followers. Someone asked him, “How can Syed Saddiq get your attention?” to which he responded with, “Jump off the KLCC tower without a parachute.”
The comment was seen as aggressive and completely tone-deaf, especially during this tumultuous time when the suicide rate amongst Malaysians is climbing at a rapid and concerning pace.
While his comment may be shocking to some, for long time followers of the two adversaries’ odd relationship, this jab was simply seen as one of many.
Let’s take a look at the troubling and sour history between the two public figures…
TMJ calls Syed Saddiq a drama queen
When Syed Saddiq was hit with a lawsuit for criminal breach of trust back in July, he set up a crowdfunding initiative to help pay for the legal expenses.
While most people banded together to help the Muar MP, TMJ took the opposite route and called him a “drama queen.”
In his words, “Drama queen. I pity the rakyat who always end up being the victim of political games.
“It’s an act and it is to deceive the people, all for the sake of votes and power. You can’t trust almost all of them.”
Syed Saddiq feels uncomfortable over demands from TMJ
Before the 14th General Election, the two were actually quite close and would meet several times to catch-up. However, it is believed that after TMJ made several demands, which Syed Saddiq could not fulfil, the relationship between the two began to sour.
The minister admitted that TMJ’s demands made him “uncomfortable” due to its political nature. One of the demands was for the cancellation of a high-profile boxing match featuring Manny Pacquiao on July 15 2018.
Syed Saddiq responded by saying, “There were demands for a last-minute cancellation, which would have caused a diplomatic crisis because six ministers from the Philippines had been invited over (for it).
“Tens of millions of investment would have been lost because it was to be broadcast live on a hundred international channels.”
He concluded by saying, “For the sake of what? To appeal to specific groups? My intention in politics is to clean Malaysia and its politics. I still humbly respect him (Tunku Ismail) as the future Sultan of Johor, but our disagreements will always be there.
“In the end, the rakyat will be my priority.”
TMJ calls Syed Saddiq “fake” and a man who “lacks morals/principles”
The prince is very active on his social media, especially Instagram. In another Q&A session with his followers, someone asked him why he disliked the Muar MP so much. He responded with, “Because he’s fake.”
He then proceeded to answer more questions regarding Syed Saddiq, accusing him of being a man with no principles because he simply “goes where the wind blows.”
“You were still in your mother’s belly, kid”
Another social media rant by TMJ, this famous jab was a result of Syed Saddiq’s post on ex-PM Tun Mahathir.
It’s no secret that the ex-Youth and Sports minister reveres Tun M and that they have a close bond. So when Syed Saddiq calls him a perfectionist in his caption, TMJ was not pleased.
He countered by calling him “delusional” and “obsessed” and urged him to “do some research.”
Duelling with words and with footballs
A verbal spat happened when TMJ claimed that City had no intention of buying an M-League club when City CEO Ferran Soriano came to KL for a sponsorship deal with CIMB Group, yet Syed Saddiq remembers it differently.
The Muar MP said, “Even my officers and their officers were present (when City stated their intention to buy a Malaysian club). Before the press conference, I also asked for permission to speak about it and he (Soriano) agreed. Besides, he was sitting next to me during the press conference and I conversed in English.”
Angered by the accusation, TMJ took to Instagram (again) to say, “First of all, you need to learn how to kick a ball properly. Trying to get involved in the football industry for political mileage is a joke.
“Trying to discredit me from what I have achieved in the football world is like a clown fish commenting on how a shark should swim and hunt.”
Syed Saddiq was not taking the bait. Instead, he simply responded by saying he felt “honoured” that TMJ is acknowledging his football skills. He then agreed to a football friendly match between both of their teams.
TMJ accepted this offer and said that the Larkin Stadium’s doors are open to the minister’s team.
“Challenge accepted. Larkin will be opened to team Picasso. Then a one-on-one skills challenge as gladiators is a must. I think this can be done very soon or do we have to wait for Man City to buy a Malaysian club first?” TMJ said, getting the final word.
What we’ve mentioned is only the tip of the iceberg since there are numerous other accounts of the two arguing.
While the comment made by TMJ was certainly deemed harsh and unnecessary, given his unsavoury history with Syed Saddiq, it was definitely not out of the ordinary.
Let’s hope the two settle their differences without having another public spat.