JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Puteri Wangsa assemblyman Mazlan Bujang has been described as a "potential kingmaker" with regard to the new Johor state government.
Within hours of Johor Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar consenting to the new coalition government being formed since they had a simple majority of 28 assemblymen, Pakatan Harapan (PH) held a mammoth gathering on Thursday (Feb 27) and announced that they also had 28 assemblymen.
Johor has 56 state assemblymen.
Those present at Pakatan's gathering included 14 assemblymen from DAP, nine from Parti Amanah Negara and five from PKR.
It is believed that Mazlan, who is the Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, could tip the balance of power in the state.
Mazlan, when contacted, downplayed his role as kingmaker and said he was waiting for instructions from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the next move.
He is the only assemblyman who has not stated his stand as he was one of the two who were not present for the interview with the Johor ruler on Wednesday.
Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayob, the other assemblyman who missed the meeting with the ruler, has announced that he backed Pakatan.
Sultan Ibrahim met with 54 of the state's assemblymen to verify their stand and consented for a new coalition to be formed after he found that they had a simple majority with 28 votes, compared to 26 for Pakatan.
"I have not supported any side so far. I will wait for instructions," Mazlan said, adding that he was not part of the 11 Bersatu assemblymen who joined the new coalition along with Umno, MIC and PAS.
Johor, the first state to fall within days of the convoluted political upheaval in Putrajaya, expects to form a new coalition state government within the next few days.
A new mentri besar will be sworn in, followed by the selection of state executive councillors.
State Umno chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad said they were in the process of submitting the list of names for the mentri besar to the Johor Ruler for his consent.
Asked how many names will be submitted, he said, "they would be presenting one name".
He added that Barisan Nasional parties, including 14 Umno and two MIC assemblymen and one from PAS, had earlier nominated him for the position.
However, he reiterated that it was the Johor ruler's prerogative on the matter. "What we want is continuity in the state," he said.
Hasni, who is also Benut assemblyman, said that he will be meeting with Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar to discuss matters soon.