JOHOR BARU, April 9 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim confirmed speculation that Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian will be replaced but not on orders from Pakatan Harapan.
Instead, he said on Twitter that Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar decreed months ago that a successor is found for Osman.
“However, somebody else is taking the credit and mileage, claiming that he ordered it,” he said on his official Twitter account today.
The crown prince commonly referred to as TMJ (the Malay initials for Tunku Mahkota Johor) added it was his father’s absolute prerogative to appoint the state MB.
“Enough with the politicking," he said.
In a later tweet, Tunku Ismail expressed hope that the new Johor MB will not be a “yes man” to the federal government but a person who prioritised the welfare of the state and its residents.
Rumours spread over the weekend that Osman will be replaced amid mounting tension between Putrajaya and the Johor royal family.
The Johor crown prince last week criticised Putrajaya for wanting to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and for announcing a ship-to-ship transfer hub in the southern state.
It was also speculated that Johor exco Dr Sahruddin Jamal was tipped to replace Osman after the former was seen meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the launch of their PPBM party’s Sabah chapter.
Osman’s stewardship of the state has been erratic and characterised by incidents such as sparking a diplomatic row by boarding a vessel to inspect the Johor Baru new port limits amid a maritime dispute with Singapore.
He was also criticised for his handling of the toxic waste spill in Pasir Gudang that caused thousands to seek medical attention after inhaling methane fumes and which forced the temporary closure of all 111 schools in the district.