Osman Sapian promises support for new Johor MB

Newly-minted Johor Mentri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal shakes hands with his predecessor Datuk Osman Sapian in Johor Baru April 14, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan
Newly-minted Johor Mentri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal shakes hands with his predecessor Datuk Osman Sapian in Johor Baru April 14, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, April 14 — Former Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian today promised full support for his successor Dr Sahruddin Jamal in developing the southern state.

“I have no problems and will assist him (Dr Sahruddin) in my capacity as a former mentri besar, senior politician, and also as a state assemblyman.

“After all, we are also from the same political party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), where I am still the state chapter’s chairman and also as the Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman,” said Osman.

However, Osman said that it was now up to Dr Sahruddin as the new mentri besar to make his decisions in leading the state.

He will also leave it to the new mentri besar if he would accept his advice if needed.

He said this when met at the Johor PPBM office in Kempas here today after Dr Sahruddin’s swearing-in ceremony and first press conference.

Osman said he saw Dr Sahruddin’s potential when he ran for the Bukit Kepong state seat in Johor in the 14th general election last year.

He said that due to this, he also appointed Dr Sahruddin as Johor PPBM secretary three weeks ago.

“Of course, he (Dr Sahruddin) has leadership potential, if not how can he make it as a candidate for the general election?

“To be fair, I have been involved in politics for the past 42 years. My generation is about to be replaced by the newer one, so it is now time for the next generation to step-up,” said Osman in jest, referring to Dr Sahruddin who is still considered young.

He described his own political journey as a complete one, despite the ups and downs.

The 67-year-old seasoned politician started off as a social activist during his youth and was considered among one of the movers of social activism in Johor Baru in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Later in his life, Osman was under the wing of then Umno strongman and former Information Minister Tan Sri Mohamad Rahmat and was associated with several youth councils and finally Umno.

He then made a name for himself as an Umno divisional warlord, but later went against the late Mohamad’s son Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad in a contest for the division chief post in 2008.

Osman, a three-term Kempas assemblyman, had helmed the state seat from 1999 to 2013 before he was dropped as a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the 2013 general election.

He later left Umno and was instrumental in setting-up the Johor PPBM chapter in 2016. In last year’s general election, the fiery orator contested and managed to win the Kempas seat back again from BN.

Osman was appointed as the new Johor mentri besar in April last year, where he initiated several development projects and met the 100-Day Manifesto promises under the Johor PH.

However, he resigned after several controversies, including an escalating spat involving Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Johor palace. He held office for 11 months, which was considered the shortest period for a mentri besar in the state’s history.