PUTRAJAYA (Apr 2): With the development of world's largest ship-to-ship hub in Johor Baru port waters, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian is well aware of the project.

"Actually, the Johor MB knows about this project, he asked me about it yesterday," said Dr Mahathir in a press conference, after a signing ceremony here today. KA Petra Sdn Bhd has inked a heads of agreement with Hutchison Port Holdings to jointly develop the world's largest ship-to-ship transfer hub in Malaysia.

"I'm not sure [as to when he knows about this project], but this project is one which will benefit Malaysia," said Dr Mahathir, noting that this project has been discussed over a long time.

"There were problems, whereby Singapore is saying that we are encroaching. We are in our waters and this is public knowledge. So, if people don't know. Well, I don't have to go around telling people one by one if you know or not... I don't do that," said Dr Mahathir.

Also, when asked again if this project was discussed with the Johor state government, he said, "I want to know if the Johor government is going to reject this project, because so far they have not rejected this project, not officially."

The questions were raised following the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, having to share a Facebook post by Gerakan Muafakat Johor, claiming to represent Johoreans, that the ship-to-ship project was planned without the knowledge of the Johor state government.

"There are a lot of Johoreans who are aware of this project, but he is unaware. I'm puzzled (hairan)," said Dr Mahathir.

"Everyone in Malaysia are my cronies, as I'm working for everyone, including the Johoreans," said Dr Mahathir, when asked if this joint venture is a special treatment from the federal authorities, as it is believed to involve certain leaders and their cronies in Putrajaya.

Dr Mahathir said Singapore is also aware about this project despite protesting against it.

"But we have shown them that this is in the Malaysian waters and not the Singapore waters. And as far as I know, what we do in the Malaysian waters, we are entitled," said Dr Mahathir.

"I was briefed about this last year, so I think other people would've known about it, because they have to ask for permission. And they are aware of this protest from Singapore. But, we have negotiated and have been talking with Singapore," he added.