JOHOR BAHRU: Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian resigned on Monday evening (Apr 8), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a press conference on Tuesday.
According to Bernama, Dr Mahathir said Mr Osman handed him two letters of resignation during their meeting in Putrajaya on Monday, one of which was addressed to the Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Iskandar.
“Johor is temporarily without a chief minister,” he said.
Dr Mahathir added that three to four names have been suggested as Mr Osman's replacement.
Mr Osman’s resignation as the Johor chief minister makes him the shortest-serving head of the state administration in Malaysia.
The 67-year-old state assemblyman for Kempas - who has held the post for 11 months - was sworn in as Johor's 16th chief minister on May 12 last year following Pakatan Harapan's (PH) victory in the 14th General Election.
JOHOR SULTAN GAVE ORDER TO REPLACE OSMAN: CROWN PRINCE
Earlier on Tuesday, Johor Crown Prince Ismail Sultan Ibrahim revealed that his father had decreed that the state’s chief minister be replaced, confirming speculation that Mr Osman would be asked to leave.
The crown prince wrote on Twitter that it was his father who gave the order to change the top man in the state.
“His Majesty has looked into changing the chief minister since months ago. Don’t forget, the power to appoint the chief minister is the sultan’s absolute right,” he said.
The crown prince claimed that there was another person eager to "claim credit and mileage" by appearing to be the one giving orders to change the chief minister.
“Enough with politicking,” he said, without naming the individual.
In a subsequent tweet, the crown prince said he hoped the new chief minister would not be a mere “yes-man” to Putrajaya. He stressed that the people’s welfare and the state’s well-being must be prioritised.
On Monday, news of a meeting between Dr Mahathir and Mr Osman fuelled speculation of the latter being replaced.
His office had denied that the meeting was called to discuss Mr Osman’s resignation, saying that it was a scheduled pre-council meeting ahead of the Singapore-Malaysia leaders' retreat.
However, local media on Tuesday noted that Mr Osman was absent from the retreat.
There was, however, a seat reserved for Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Sahruddin Jamal, one of the two politicians said to be in the running for the chief minister’s post. The other was Johor Youth, Sports and Culture Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.
An earlier report by New Straits Times quoted sources saying that Pakatan Harapan leaders were not satisfied with Mr Osman’s performance as the state’s chief minister.
Leaders from his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, were also said to be unimpressed with how he handled the controversy surrounding his academic qualifications.