KOTA KINABALU, Sept 28 — Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has received a letter of intent from the Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin confirming the Sabah Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief is to be appointed the state chief minister.

Speaking to reporters on his way out of the palace around 5pm, Hajiji said he expects to be sworn in as the 16th chief minister tomorrow morning.

“The TYT invited me over to inform me of my appointment as the chief minister of Sabah.

“Yes, he handed to me the letter of intent,” the reelected Sulaman assemblyman said.

Hajiji had earlier this afternoon announced himself as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s (GRS) choice to be chief minister.

The Sulaman assemblyman was then seen entering the palace around 4pm where he was later issued an endorsement letter from Juhar.

Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also issued a separate statement this afternoon acknowledging Hajiji as the GRS chief minister candidate.

“I respect the decision on the basis of the spirit of autonomy by Umno Sabah, which has been already agreed upon.

“Hopefully the new government that will be formed can immediately focus their attention to the agendas that defend the rights of Sabahans, as stated within the GRS’ manifesto,” Zahid said.

His statement today contrasted with his earlier assertion that the new Sabah CM should come from Umno — of which Zahid is president — as the party to have secured 14 seats, more than any other in the GRS alliance.

The decision to pick Hajiji as the next chief minister was made following almost two-days of negotiations among GRS components and partners, with many speculating a stalemate between BNand PN.

GRS had on Saturday secured 38 seats in the statewide elections to make simple majority and form the state government, as Warisan Plus only managed 32 seats.