Johor PN did not remove Pakatan speaker as rumoured, assembly was smooth sailing

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad speaks during the state assembly in Iskandar Puteri Septmber 10, 2020. ― Bernama pic
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad speaks during the state assembly in Iskandar Puteri Septmber 10, 2020. ― Bernama pic

ISKANDAR PUTERI, Sept 10 — Despite earlier rumours of an urgent motion to remove Johor state assembly Speaker Suhaizan Kayat by the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) state government, the sitting convened in the Sultan Ismail Building in Kota Iskandar here took place in an orderly manner without any untoward incidents.

There was no motion by the government bloc to remove or replace Suhaizan, who is seen as the only PN state with a Pakatan Harapan (PH)-appointed Speaker.

Earlier, elected state representatives were seen entering the conference hall at 9.30am as soon as the bell was rung before proceeding with Suhaizan, as Speaker, on the rules and the sitting period for the session.

Shortly after that, the first question was answered by Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad, who is also the Benut assemblyman.

The morning’s proceedings went smoothly, without any commotion as assemblymen from the PH bloc, including Opposition leader Aminolhuda Hassan (PH-Parit Yaani), was seen asking additional questions to Hasni.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Gambir assemblyman, also attended the session, arriving at 10.50am.

The proceedings towards noon immediately put an end to earlier rumours that the state PN wanted to submit an urgent motion to change the speaker at the beginning of the session.

Speculations of a hung state assembly and possible defections by assemblymen were also put to rest today.

Muhyiddin was seen sitting near the state’s two former mentris besar, with Datuk Osman Sapian sitter next to him while Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal was placed next to Osman.

Osman (PN-Kempas) was also seen sitting in the government bloc until the hall called for a recess at noon.

The sittings from today until Sunday were expected to be tense after Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) appeared to have expelled the embattled Osman before reversing course last week.

His expulsion would have effectively resulted in a hung assembly if he sided with the PH Opposition bloc.

Osman’s loyalty to Bersatu and the ruling PN pact was earlier questioned after he was seen publicly among those campaigning for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s still-informal Pejuang party at the Slim by-election.

Dr Mahathir, who co-founded Bersatu, lost control of the party in February and was later removed as a member.

At present, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad from Umno only retained control of the administration by virtue of Osman’s continued membership in the party and his support for the PN government.

PH controls 27 seats in the assembly. The coalition would have as many lawmakers as PN in the event Osman goes independent and allies with it.

In the state assembly, both Umno and DAP have 14 seats each. The others are held by Bersatu (12), Amanah (nine), PKR (four), MIC (two) and PAS (one).

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