As Johor row builds, Chin Tong reminds Pakatan of state’s importance

Senator Liew Chin Tong says all Johor DAP assemblymen will abide by any decision the party leadership reaches with allies. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Senator Liew Chin Tong says all Johor DAP assemblymen will abide by any decision the party leadership reaches with allies. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Senator Liew Chin Tong called for a measured response from Pakatan Harapan (PH) today over the Johor mentri besar’s post, saying the state remained the pivotal piece in the political contest for the country.

The DAP leader helped craft the strategy to penetrate what had been considered Umno’s bastion in the peninsula until it fell spectacularly into PH’s hands during the last general election.

“I would like to reiterate that Johor is the most important political battleground in peninsula Malaysia which requires all political leaders to exercise leadership and responsibility to ensure a strong government of the people, by the people, for the people,” Liew said in a statement today.

He said all Johor DAP assemblymen will abide by any decision the party leadership reaches with allies.

He also expressed DAP’s thanks and gratitude to outgoing mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian whose resignation was made known yesterday.

Liew described Osman as a leader who had been consultative and focused on problem solving.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced Osman’s resignation while in Parliament yesterday and reportedly insisted that the latter’s replacement must be from his PPBM.

The ruling PH and the Johor palace appear set to collide over the matter after Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim pre-empted Dr Mahathir and insisted it was the sultan’s absolute prerogative to choose Osman’s successor.

Dr Mahathir retorted today by saying the decision rested solely with the party that won the election rather than the sultan.

The indirect exchange is the latest conflict between Dr Mahathir’s PH and Johor’s royal house over a variety of issues ranging from the governance of the country to the state’s sovereign rights.