Mahathir-Johor royalty spat over Menteri Besar heats up
Malaysian PM says party that won election, not Sultan of Johor, will decide the state's next Menteri Besar
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, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.
Mr Mahathir said: "It will take some time to appoint an acting Menteri Besar of Johor. We will try to appoint one as soon as possible.
"We have a few candidates we have to trace; very quickly, we will find him."
When pressed if it was the Sultan of Johor who would be appointing the MB or acting MB, Mr Mahathir said: "This is a political decision."
But the Johor Sultan's lawyer disputed the prime minister's statement.
Mr Ahmad Solehin Abd Ghani said the Sultan has the absolute right to appoint a Menteri Besar as stipulated under the Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor 1895.
In a Facebook post yesterday Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said he wants certain quarters to stop meddling in matters concerning the state.
He said he was currently overseas but was following developments in Malaysia and Johor in particular.
"On matters concerning Johor, do not try to meddle into state affairs as this is a sovereign state that still has a Sultan.
"I will make the best decision for the people when the time comes," Sultan Ibrahim said.
Johor MB Osman Sapian resigned from his post on Monday. Following that, Dr Mahathir said the replacement must come from Bersatu.
On Tuesday, Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, tweeted that he hoped the new MB would not be a "yes man" to Putrajaya.
"The welfare of the people and well-being of the state must always be a priority," he wrote in his official Twitter account, adding that a decree to change the MB had been ongoing for a while.
"But somebody else is taking the credit and mileage, claiming that he ordered it.
"His Majesty (Sultan Ibrahim) has reviewed to change the Menteri Besar months ago."
He added that the appointment of the Johor MB was the absolute right of the state ruler.
In a Facebook post, Mr Ahmad Solehin said: "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."
Mr Ahmad Solehin said the Johor ruler would review the candidates and if they were appointed, His Majesty must agree to it.
"If the candidates that are sent is not agreed to by His Majesty, then the party must send another list to Johor Sultan until an agreement is reached to appoint the candidate as the Menteri Besar.
"The statement saying Sultan of Johor does not have any role and right to appoint the Menteri Besar is incorrect, sidetracks and purposely done (sic) to confuse the community about the duty and role of His Majesty in the government system, especially in Johor," he said.
- THE STAR