Johor Sultan accepts Osman's resignation, Sahruddin tipped to be next Menteri Besar

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had earlier announced that Datuk Osman Sapian (pictured) had tendered his resignation. PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU - Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has accepted the resignation of Datuk Osman Sapian as Menteri Besar.

Johor State Secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani said in a statement that the Sultan accepted the resignation letter at around 10am on Saturday (April 13), The Star reported.

A new chief minister is expected to be appointed on Sunday (April 14), said Mr Azmi. Sunday is a working day for government offices in Johor.

It was learnt that Bukit Kepong assemblyman Sahruddin Jamal, who is from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia like Mr Osman, is expected to be appointed as the 17th Johor Menteri Besar.

Mr Sahruddin is currently a member of the Johor state Cabinet, called the executive council. He is the state exco (executive councillor) for health, environment and agriculture.

Under the state Constitution, the party or alliance with the most number of lawmakers will pick their next leader and submit the person's name to the ruler for appointment. But as had happened in other states over the years, the sultan could accept or reject the candidate, and might ask for the name of another state lawmaker.

There have been tensions between Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Sultan Ibrahim in recent weeks as both claim to have the right to appoint the next menteri besar, who heads the state Cabinet.

On Monday (April 8), Tun Mahathir announced that Osman had tendered his resignation letter to him.

Various reasons were forwarded on why Tun Mahathir soured on the Johor leadership of Mr Osman, just 11 months after Pakatan Harapan (PH) stormed to power in the state that was the stronghold of Umno. Among the reasons given were the prime minister's belief that Mr Osman is pliant to the wishes of the royal household led by Sultan Ibrahim.

Sultan Ibrahim, who has extensive business interests in the state, regularly makes public declarations on economic policies and does not shy away from getting directly involved in state administrative matters.

Dr Mahathir's decision to replace Mr Osman came after the federal government announced plans recently to develop a ship-to-ship transfer hub in Johor Baru port waters, according to PH sources. Johor's Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Mr Osman both claimed they were unaware of the multimillion-dollar hub project.

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