JOHOR BAHRU: Johor’s caretaker chief minister Hasni Mohammad said on Monday (Mar 14) that the new state government to be formed after Barisan Nasional’s (BN) emphatic victory in the state polls should be led by a younger candidate.
BN cruised to victory on Saturday, clinching 40 seats out of 56 in the state legislature.
After the victory was confirmed, BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters that the coalition was set to nominate Mr Hasni to the sultan of Johor as the chief minister candidate to lead the next state government.
However, in a statement released on Monday evening, Mr Hasni, 62, urged the party leadership to choose a younger person to lead the new government.
“Looking at the support and the importance of youths in the development of Johor state, and also for long-term peace in the state, I suggest that the party leadership choose a younger candidate,” said Mr Hasni.
He added that the state government under his leadership had pledged to ensure Johor remains competitive in facing the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“God willing under the new leadership, Johor will be more safe and prosperous,” he added.
Mr Hasni was the chief minister from February 2020 until January 2022.
He was at the helm during a challenging period for the southern state. The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted Johor’s economy, with businesses affected mainly due to prolonged border closures with Singapore.
During the campaigning for the Johor state election, Ahmad Zahid said that Mr Hasni was the coalition’s “poster boy” and would be nominated as chief minister if BN won.
According to local media reports, Ahmad Zahid was summoned for an audience with Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar on Monday.
The final decision on who will be appointed chief minister lies with the sultan.
In Saturday's polls, Mr Hasni retained the Benut seat, getting 10,896 votes while his nearest challenger Mr Isa Abd Hamid from Perikatan Nasional won 5,037 votes.
As of Monday evening, the next chief minister and executive council for Johor has yet to be announced.