Johor Sultan meets state reps to gauge who commands majority to form state government
JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar on Wednesday (Feb 26) personally met with most of the 56 assemblymen in the Malaysian southern state to find out which side had the majority to form the next state government following days of political turmoil.
It is learnt that the assemblymen from all parties including the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition and Barisan Nasional (BN) were asked to state their stand – in writing – on which party they supported.
The process was carried out at the old government administration building of Bukit Timbalan.
However, Johor Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chief Mazlan Bujang and Simpang Jeram assemblyman Salahuddin Ayub could not attend the interview on time as both of them were in Kuala Lumpur.
Sultan Ibrahim decided to meet the assemblymen after both sides claimed that they had the simple majority to form the next government following the collapse of the PH state government after 11 PPBM assemblymen quit the state government.
The latest political fallout follows days of political manoeuvring, which saw the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the departure of his party PPBM from PH, along with 11 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmakers led by deputy president Azmin Ali. This culminated in the collapse of the PH government.
Among the first to arrive for their interview session with Sultan Ibrahim were former state exco Dzulkefly Ahmad, followed by Mr Jimmy Puah Wee Tse, Dr S. Ramakrishnan, Mr Liow Cai Tung, Mr Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar, Mr Mohd Solihan Badri and Mr Aminolhuda Hassan.
Also present were state BN chief Hasni Mohammad and Johor Regent Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
Presently, PH has 28 assemblymen after the exit of the 11 PPBM representatives.
PH needs at least one more assemblymen from PPBM to form the state government.
There are 14 Umno assemblymen, two from the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and one from Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
Mr Hasni was upbeat about forming the next state government. The Benut assemblyman said that each assemblyman was clear on their stand during their meeting with the Ruler.
He added that it was still early to make an announcement in terms of the figures as every assemblyman individually state their preference to Sultan Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, Johor Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chief Aminolhuda Hassan said that the meeting with Sultan Ibrahim went smoothly.
“I made it clear that my stand was with the PH government before writing it down. I am confident that once the issues at the federal level have been dealt with, the situation in Johor will follow suit, ” he said.
Political analyst from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia Dr Mohd Akbal Abdullah said the Ruler’s gesture to meet the state’s elected representatives would help solve the issue of who should lead the state government.
The actions of Sultan Ibrahim mirrored the process of democracy, he added.
“As the head of state, Sultan Ibrahim has the right to listen to the views of assemblymen from both sides.
“His Majesty will he able to make a wise decision to help safeguard the rakyat’s interest, ” he said in an interview.
Dr Mohd Akbal said the issue was expected to be resolved within the next few days following Sultan Ibrahim’s meeting with the state assemblymen.
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