Osman Sapian: Johor sultan yet to decide on resignation, keeping letter as souvenir

Embattled Datuk Osman Sapian’s status is still officially unknown as he will have another audience with Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in Johor Baru later today. — Picture by Ben Tan
Embattled Datuk Osman Sapian’s status is still officially unknown as he will have another audience with Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar in Johor Baru later today. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, April 13 — Is Datuk Osman Sapian still Johor mentri besar or has the sultan consented to the former’s resignation announced Tuesday by the prime minister?

The Kempas assemblyman continued to keep everyone on tenterhooks after an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar at the palace here this morning, saying the Johor Ruler wants a second meeting at 6.30pm and will decide after that.

“My position remains until a decision is made by Tuanku on the matter later today,” Osman told a press conference at the Johor Bersatu headquarters here.

He said Sultan Ibrahim received his resignation letter when he had an audience with the ruler at Istana Pasir Pelangi earlier at 10.30am today.

“Tuanku did not read my resignation letter and said that he will keep it as a souvenir," he said.

Osman said he was told to return to the palace for a second audience with the sultan at 6.30pm today.

The sultan had been abroad and returned to the state only yesterday.

The embattled 67-year-old tendered his resignation to Bersatu chairman and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya last Monday.

Osman was accompanied by his principal private secretary Fizwan Rashidi and political secretary Saiful Sidek Abdullah during the news conference.

Osman said the sultan was cordial during his morning audience at Istana Pasir Pelangi, which was also attended by Johor state secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani and the sultan’s private secretary Jaba Mohd Noah.

“I spoke at length with Tuanku after he asked me several questions.

“Being a citizen, I spoke in a frank manner regarding the political situation and also discussed why I resigned as the state’s mentri besar,” said Osman.

On questions about his present status, Osman said he is still chairman of Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the state chapter of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia until further notice.

Osman is the 16th Johor mentri besar and is believed to have served the shortest period of less than 11 months after taking his oath of office on May 12 last year after PH’s victory in the 14th general election.

* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.