KUALA LUMPUR - Assemblyman Amirudin Shari has been sworn in as Selangor's new chief minister on Tuesday (June 19), reflecting the growing influence of his mentor Azmin Ali, who relinquishes the reins of Malaysia's richest state to take over the powerful Economic Affairs Ministry.
This confirms a report by The Straits Times last month that Mr Amirudin, 38, would succeed Datuk Seri Azmin as Selangor Menteri Besar, even though their other Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) colleagues were also eyeing the post.
"Congratulations and serve well my friend Amirudin Shari who will make history as the 16th Menteri Besar of Selangor," said fellow assemblyman and ally Najwan Halimi in a Facebook posting early on Tuesday morning.
Mr Amirudin took his oath of office and was sworn in before Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at Istana Alam Shah.
The appointment of Mr Amirudin, a Sungai Dua representative, came amid intense lobbying by those aligned to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. Datuk Seri Anwar has visited the Sultan of Selangor several times since Mr Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, was made a federal minister.
PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Datuk Seri Anwar's wife, confirmed on June 9 that Ijok assemblyman Idris Ahmad had been one of several candidates nominated but did not mention any other names.
This is the second time that Sultan Sharafuddin has rebuffed Datuk Seri Wan Azizah, who was herself rejected as Menteri Besar in 2014.
This comes despite Mr Anwar positioning himself as a mediator between Malaysia's powerful royal houses and the Mahathir Mohamad administration, and taking credit for breaking an impasse over the appointment of a new Attorney General.
For Mr Azmin, who is seen as a potential premier although Tun Dr Mahathir has agreed to hand power to Mr Anwar at an undecided time, this means his faction within PKR continues to control the only state governed by the party, which also has the most MPs in the Pakatan Harapan government.
Prime Minister Mahathir has assigned a raft of agencies and state enterprises to the Economic Affairs Minister, Mr Azmin, including those previously helmed by the premier's office and the finance ministry.