Johor MB meeting PM to be sacked? Aide says KL trip for bilateral retreat with Singapore

Johor MB Osman Sapian arrives for the highest leadership council on the first day of Bersatu’s second annual general assembly at Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Putrajaya December 28, 2018. An aide to Osman April 7, 2019 denied allegations that the menteri besar is meeting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be replaced. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Johor MB Osman Sapian arrives for the highest leadership council on the first day of Bersatu’s second annual general assembly at Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Putrajaya December 28, 2018. An aide to Osman April 7, 2019 denied allegations that the menteri besar is meeting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be replaced. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Amid a working visit to Kuala Lumpur, an aide to Datuk Osman Sapian has denied allegations that the Johor menteri besar is meeting Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be replaced.

Osman’s press secretary Abdul Hakim Abdul Rahman explained that the MB is due to meet with Dr Mahathir tomorrow to prepare for the 9th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat scheduled for Tuesday.

“Even if the menteri besar wants to meet with the prime minister, it is normal as for a preparatory meeting to be held before a major meeting,” he told the media through several text messages.

“Don’t believe in nonsensical rumours. Right now, there are many quarters who are trying to confuse the public for their personal and political interest.”

This follows WhatsApp text messages that have been circulated claiming Osman was to be replaced amid mounting tension between Putrajaya and the Johor royal family.

Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim had in the past week chided Putrajaya for ratifying the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, and also for announcing a ship-to-ship transfer hub in the southern state.

Malaysiakini had earlier today quoted anonymous sources saying Osman was rumoured to be replaced.

The rumour claimed that Osman was to be replaced with Bukit Kepong assemblyman Dr Sahruddin Jamal from PKR — after the latter was seen meeting with Dr Mahathir during the launch of Bersatu’s Sabah chapter.

Osman recently sparked a diplomatic tussle after he boarded a vessel to visit the Johor Baru new port limits that was disputed by neighbouring Singapore.

He was also criticised for his handling of the toxic waste spill in Pasir Gudang that saw students hospitalised and hundreds of schools temporarily closed.