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Thursday March 13, 2008

Ghani set to lead Johor again


JOHOR BARU: Serom state assemblyman Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman is set to be sworn in as mentri besar together with his exco line-up at Istana Besar this weekend. 

Johor state secretary Datuk Abdul Latiff Yusof said in a statement that the Johor Sultan had consented to Ghani's appointment.  

This will be Ghani’s fourth term since 1995. 

It is learnt that Ghani and Abdul Latiff met the Johor Sultan for about an hour yesterday. 

Changes are expected in the state’s line-up following the retirement and the movement of at least four of the 11-member exco.  

The exco members who have retired are Datuk K. S. Balakrishnan (MIC) and Freddie Long (MCA). 

State Wanita Umno chief Datuk Halimah Sadique had moved from a state seat to contest the Tenggara parliamentary seat. 

Datuk Samat Aripin (Umno), on the other hand, was dropped. 

According to political sources, Ghani might have to bring in some “young blood” as all the six remaining exco members are in their 50s and 60s. 

The youngest at present is Aziz Kaprawi, 49, who previously held the Youth and Sports portfolio. 

The sources also pointed out that except for Ahmad Zahri Jamil, all the other five were first-term exco members. 

Among the rising stars for the exco position is former Higher Education Ministry parliamentary secretary Dr Adham Baba who swapped seats with Halimah for the Pasir Raja state seat. 

Another frontrunner is Puteri Wangsa assemblyman Abdul Halim Suleiman, 46, who is also Johor Port Authority chairman. 

As for young blood, Kemelah assemblyman Ayob Rahmat, 39, is the youngest among the state’s 50 Barisan assemblymen. 

Another possible contender is Dr Sharuddin Salleh from Jorak who holds a doctorate in engineering and is the only assemblyman with a PhD. 

Among the frontrunners to replace Long is Paloh assemblyman Hoo Seong Chang, 51, who was previously the parliamentary secretary of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. 

For MIC, it is likely Johor MIC secretary M. M. Samy, 59, who was also previously a senator, or Gambir assemblyman A. Asojan, 42.  

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