Menteri Besar to be appointed by party, not Sultan: Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR • The role of appointing the new Johor Menteri Besar lies with the party that won the election, not with the Sultan of Johor, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

Former Menteri Besar Osman Sapian resigned from his post on Monday, and his replacement is expected to come from Tun Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).

"It will take some time to appoint an acting Menteri Besar of Johor. We will try to appoint one as soon as possible," Dr Mahathir told reporters.

When pressed if it was the Sultan of Johor who would be appointing the Menteri Besar, who heads the state government, Dr Mahathir said: "This is a political decision."

Lawyer Ahmad Solehin Abd Ghani, however, has contradicted the Prime Minister, saying the Johor Sultan has the absolute right to appoint a Menteri Besar under the Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor 1895, or the Johor State Constitution.

"Under Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor, Item 3 (1), it is stated that the Sultan has the absolute right in appointing the Menteri Besar where in the issue of appointing, His Majesty does not have to act on advice from any quarters," said Mr Solehin in a Facebook post.

"However, through 'convention', parties that won would send several names as Menteri Besar candidate to Johor Sultan for His Majesty's consideration where, in this matter, Pakatan Harapan should send the names," said Mr Solehin, referring to the ruling coalition.

His post was shared by Johor's Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, on his official Facebook page yesterday.

Breaking his silence over the matter, Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who is currently overseas, said he wants "certain quarters to stop making noise and fighting about politics and focus on efforts to take care of the nation instead".

"On matters concerning Johor, do not try to meddle in state affairs as this is a sovereign state that still has a Sultan," said the royal in a statement posted on his Facebook page yesterday. "I will make the best decision for the people when the time comes."

Johor executive committee member Sahruddin Jamal from PPBM is widely regarded as the front runner to become Menteri Besar, but it is understood that other Pakatan Harapan parties have also nominated their assemblymen for the post.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Menteri Besar to be appointed by party, not Sultan: Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe