Assemblyman Amirudin Shari was sworn in as Selangor's new chief minister yesterday, reflecting the growing influence of his mentor, Datuk Seri 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 Mr Azmin as Selangor Menteri Besar, even though other Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) colleagues were also eyeing the post.
"I am a team player and I promise this team will move forward together," Mr Amirudin told a press conference after being sworn in.
He took his oath of office and was sworn in before Selangor's ruler, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, at Istana Alam Shah.
The appointment of Mr Amirudin, the Sungai Dua representative, came amid intense lobbying for another candidate, Ijok assemblyman Idris Ahmad, 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, Mr Anwar's wife, confirmed on June 9 that Dr Idris 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 Dr 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 Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's administration, and taking credit for breaking a recent impasse over the appointment of a new attorney-general.
Dr Idris disputed the appointment of Mr Amirudin yesterday, telling reporters during the swearing-in ceremony that he was the only candidate endorsed by the ruling coalition.
"I have the support of all parties in Pakatan Harapan (PH), whereas Amirudin has the support of only Azmin Ali," he said.
PKR is one of the parties under the PH coalition.
He also alleged that Mr Azmin did not have the blessing of the pact to continue his chief ministership of Selangor after the May 9 polls.
When quizzed on this, Mr Amirudin said he would leave it to the top PH leadership to explain.
But he pointed to the presence of the entire state Cabinet made up of leaders from all four PH parties at his press conference. "I am sure we can work together," he said.
For Mr Azmin - who is seen as a potential premier, although Tun Dr Mahathir has agreed to hand over power to Mr Anwar at an unspecified future date - this means his faction within PKR continues to control the only state governed by the party, which also has the most number of MPs in the PH government.
Dr Mahathir has assigned a raft of agencies and state enterprises to Mr Azmin, the Economic Affairs Minister, including those previously helmed by the premier's office and the finance ministry.