JOHOR BARU, Aug 31 — Former Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian has recently reached out to several Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders for discussions, leading to speculation about his possible exit from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) which would trigger a hung state government.
Johor PH chief Aminolhuda Hassan revealed that Osman had recently made contact with the coalition’s representatives for discussions.
“This follows his (Osman’s) unhappiness with the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
“However, I can only confirm that he has contacted us but cannot reveal the details of the discussions,” said Aminolhuda when contacted by Malay Mail today.
His comments follow a video that recently went viral, showing the 68-year-old Kempas state assemblyman campaigning for an Independent candidate aligned with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) at the recent Slim state by-election
Aminolhuda, who is also state Opposition leader, said that if Osman decides to throw his support behind Johor PH, such a scenario will lead to an unstable state government as the coalition will have the backing of 28 out of 56 state assemblymen.
He said if Osman, as a state assemblyman, gives his full support to PH, this will create a political impasse as Johor will have a hung government again.
Aminolhuda said the state PH will accept Osman as an independent assemblyman aligned with the coalition in the event that he decides to support PH.
“But as the state Opposition leader, I want to appeal to our other former PH colleagues who are now in PN to join us in forming the state government.
“Only then can we continue with our reforms to fulfil all the pledges contained in its 14th general election manifesto,” said Aminolhuda, who is also the Parit Yaani assemblyman.
At present, Johor is led by PN under the leadership of its Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad who is from Umno. His administration holds a simple majority of 29 seats, while the state PH coalition has 27 seats.
The Johor assembly has 56 seats. Both Umno and DAP have 14 each. The remaining seats are held by Bersatu (12), Amanah (nine), PKR (four), MIC (two) and PAS (one).
Last week, Osman’s loyalty to Bersatu was called into question after allegations surfaced of his supposed impending exit to join Pejuang after he was publicly seen with several of the new party’s leaders during the Slim by-election campaign.
Following that, a video went viral on Saturday showing Osman, who is also the Ayer Hitam Bersatu division chief, supposedly speaking on the campaign trail in support of Independent candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi.
In the video, Osman is said to have admitted being the Kempas state assemblyman on the Bersatu ticket and that he was still a member of the party but alleged that Bersatu had strayed from its original struggles.
It was reported yesterday that Johor Bersatu will leave it to the party leadership to deal with Osman according to party rules.