Johor’s outspoken crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said he did not see the need for government agencies such as Felda, the police and armed forces to have their own football teams, as they were funded by taxpayers’ money.
“Government money must be used for the good of the people and priority must be given to the people,” said Tunku Ismail in an interview published on the Facebook of the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) team which he heads.
He was asked about the competition between JDT and Felda for the league title.
But Tunku Ismail used the opportunity to point out that Felda was no longer geared towards helping the poor as was its original intention when it was formed by the late Tun Razak.
“Today, money meant for the settlers are being spent unnecessarily to enrich certain contractors within Felda and also allowing a few people holding high post in Felda to make money. This is a clear case of taking money from the poor,” he said.
The comments were published on the same day Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak praised Felda over its achievements in improving the lives of settlers.
Najib, speaking at a Felda event in Putrajaya, said the programme benefitted the younger generation of Felda settlers, and this could be seen with the upward social mobility among them, with more moving to the cities.
Tunku Ismail said unlike the government agencies, his soccer team was funded by sponsors and investors.
“I am proud that I am not using the government’s money which belongs to the people to build a football club.
“I am not building a stadium using money meant for the settlers or money from contractors lobbying for jobs within Felda,” he added.