PETALING JAYA: Despite two state elections since 2018, the political drama in Melaka has yet to end.
The state has had two chief ministers since the struggle for the position began in 2020, and a third is expected to be sworn in to office today.
In 2018, state Pakatan Harapan chairman and Bukit Katil assemblyman Adly Zahari assumed office after the coalition won 15 out of 28 seats in the Melaka state elections, which were held in tandem with the 14th General Election.
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In 2020, however, turmoil ensued when four assemblymen previously aligned with the Pakatan administration defected from the coalition, causing the Pakatan-led state administration to collapse.
The four assemblymen were Bersatu’s Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas) and Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen (Paya Rumput), PKR’s Datuk Muhammad Jailani Khamis (Rembia) and DAP’s Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu).This led to Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali, who is also Lendu assemblyman, being sworn in as the 12th Melaka Chief Minister on March 9, 2020.
Sulaiman’s 16-month tenure as chief minister, however, has not been obstacle-free.
On Oct 4, 2021, Sulaiman’s administration collapsed when four assemblymen withdrew their support, declaring that they had lost confidence in his leadership.
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They were former Melaka chief minister Barisan’s Datuk Seri Idris Haron (Sungai Udang), Datuk Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor), and now independent Norhizam and Bersatu’s Noor Effandi, both of whom had also withdrawn their support for the Pakatan administration in 2020.
A snap state election was called in November of that year, resulting in Barisan securing a landslide victory where it won 20 out of the 28 seats in the state assembly.
Sulaiman was again sworn in as the Chief Minister, and took his oath of office, loyalty and secrecy before Melaka Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Dr Mohd Ali Rustam late in the night of Nov 20, just hours after Barisan secured the landslide victory.
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Despite this, speculation on efforts to topple Sulaiman continued to swirl.
In July last year, there were rumours that a motion for a vote of no confidence against Sulaiman would be presented during state assembly proceedings.
The motion, however, failed to materialise and was dismissed as a rumour.
On Wednesday, Sulaiman stepped down from the post. He said he had chosen to step down willingly.
“My decision came from the bottom of my heart. No one forced me to do so,” he said yesterday, adding that he had been thinking about quitting for some time now.
“I did not intend to cling to power for long,” said Sulaiman who felt he was making a “dignified exit”.
On his emotional farewell with his staff at Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh, Sulaiman said he had been working with them for a long time and it was normal to feel sad.