JOHOR BARU: Datuk Osman Sapian has made it clear that he was not forced out as Johor mentri besar.
His resignation, he said, was on his own accord. But he stopped short of explaining why he wanted to leave the post, saying that “everyone knew and I do not need to elaborate further”.
The Kempas assemblyman, whose 11-month tenure as mentri besar is the shortest ever in the state, appeared cheerful when he held a press conference yesterday about his move that had grabbed headlines in the past week.
He spent a good part of the press conference to outline his achievements since taking over as mentri besar last year, saying that his administration had delivered the promises in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto within the first 100 days.
“I took over from a government which had been in power for more than 60 years.
“I have set the direction and development plans for the state,” he said, adding that he had also settled many issues, including the appointment of more than 1,000 village heads and tabling the state Budget within three months after being appointed.
He maintained that he also had a good relationship with civil servants and handled issues such as the Sg Kim Kim pollution, land titles to over 2,000 Felda second generation settlers and the building of a velodrome stadium for Malaysia Games.
“I also helped to pay off RM334mil owed to the Federal Government and managed to collect RM400mil from land matters,” he said.
However, Osman maintained that he would continue to carry out his duties as Kempas assemblyman as he had about four more years to serve.
Osman, who was speaking to reporters after having an audience with Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar at Istana Pasir Pelangi earlier in the morning, thanked the Ruler for his advice and guidance.
He reiterated his allegiance to Sultan Ibrahim.
The meeting, he said, was warm and that Sultan Ibrahim had asked many questions about the political situation.
“In fact, His Majesty did not read my resignation letter and said he will keep it as a souvenir.
“I gave my frank opinions about things happening in the state,” he said, adding that His Majesty then asked him to come back to the palace later in the evening to finalise the matter.
He said the Johor Ruler also set a condition, including a reshuffle of the state executive councillors, as part of the agreement to appoint a new mentri besar.
Asked why Sultan Ibrahim was imposing such a condition, he said: “You will have to ask him as I cannot answer on his behalf.”
Osman tendered his resignation to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on April 8.
He was only able to meet Sultan Ibrahim yesterday as the Ruler was abroad and returned to Johor late Friday.