KUALA LUMPUR: The role of appointing the new Johor mentri besar lies with the party that won the election, not with the Sultan of Johor, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"It will take some time to appoint an acting mentri besar of Johor. We will try to appoint one as soon as possible.
"We have a few candidates we have to trace; very quickly, we will find him, said Dr Mahathir.
When pressed if it was the Sultan of Johor who would be appointing the MB or acting MB, Dr Mahathir said: "This is a political decision."
"The Sultan (of Johor) has got no role. The role is for the party that won the election to determine who leads," he added.
He also said that he did not confirm if Johor exco member Dr Sahruddin Jamal from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was one of the candidates in the running for the post.
"I do not know," said Dr Mahathir, who was speaking to the media after opening the 15th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance (Kliff 2019) here Wednesday (April 10).
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian resigned from his post on Monday (April 8). Following that, Dr Mahathir said the replacement must come from Bersatu.
Dr Sahruddin, the state Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman, is widely regarded as the front runner but it is understood that the other Pakatan Harapan parties have also nominated their assemblymen for the top post.
Yesterday (April 9) Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim tweeted that he hoped the new mentri besar would not be a "yes man" to Putrajaya.
"The welfare of the people and well-being of the state must always be a priority," he wrote in his official Twitter account, adding that a decree to change the mentri besar had been ongoing for a while.
"But somebody else is taking the credit and mileage, claiming that he ordered it.
"His Majesty (Sultan Ibrahim) has reviewed to change the mentri besar months ago," said Tunku Ismail.
He added that the appointment of the Johor mentri besar was the absolute right of the state Ruler.