KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian has resigned, bowing to months of pressure from the palace to vacate the post.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Osman handed in his resignation on Monday.
“There are three or four candidates who could take over from Osman and their names will be presented to the Johor palace,“ he said at the Parliament lobby today.
Dr Sahruddin Jamal, the state executive councillor in charge of Health, Environment and Agriculture, is seen as the front runner to succeed Osman.
Mahathir said the new mentri besar must be from PPBM under an agreement reached among Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties.
The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, had recently said the Sultan of Johor had decreed months ago that Osman should be replaced.
However, Mahathir declined to link the resignation to the palace and declined to specify the reason for Osman’s decision.
“No, we are not going to say why he stepped down. We will tell you later. There was a reason given for him to step down, and we accepted it,“ he said.
“Osman met the sultan. He submitted a resignation letter to me and another to the Sultan of Johor,“ he said.
Speculation on Osman’s exit mounted when he failed to turn up for the Malaysia-Singapore Leader’s Retreat today.
Tunku Ismail had earlier confirmed speculation that Osman would be replaced, but not on orders from PH.
The crown prince, popularly known as TMJ (Tunku Mahkota Johor), said it was his father’s prerogative to appoint the mentri besar.