PASIR GUDANG, May 24 — Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin stressed that Johor Umno had never rejected or refused to acknowledge Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi as state mentri besar, replacing Datuk Seri Mohammad Hasni after Barisan Nasional (BN) won in the March election.
Khaled said Onn Hafiz's administration had the full support of the Pasir Gudang Umno division.
"What is important is that the current state government is able to carry out its responsibilities effectively.
"This support is for him to succeed in leading Johor and to bring the state’s position to a level of excellence,” he told reporters attending the Pasir Gudang Umno Aidilfitri celebration at Dewan Puncak Kasih in Bukit Layang-Layang here last night.
Khaled, who is also the Pasir Gudang Umno division chief, was responding to rumours that Johor Umno did not support Onn Hafiz in the initial period after he was suddenly appointed to the mentri besar’s post after the state election in March.
Onn Hafiz was also present at the event as the guest-of-honour.
Machap assemblyman Onn Hafiz was sworn in as Johor's 19th mentri besar on March 15.
The 43-year-old career politician’s appointment came as a surprise to the public as Hasni had been touted as the MB-designate during the election campaign and was expected to return to office when BN won.
Hasni is currently holding the state’s top political post as Johor Umno liaison chief.
Khaled also told reporters that while he is confident Umno and BN have the voters' support, they should not rest on their laurels for the next general election due next year.
"What is important was that the government can serve and solve all the many issues faced by the people,” he said.
"At present, the momentum is there but sometimes winning the general election is not based on momentum alone,” said Khaled, who was the Johor mentri besar before the Pakatan Harapan coalition took over after winning the 2018 general election.
Khaled said he will leave it to the party’s leadership to decide if he should run for a parliamentary seat in the next GE.
Previously, rumours were circulating that the former minister will make an electoral return by contesting in the Kota Tinggi or Mersing parliamentary constituencies.
Khaled had run in both the Pasir Gudang federal and Permas state seats in Election 218, but lost.