Kadir to new MB: Who did palace back?

Newly-installed Johor menteri besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal gets no congratulations from A Kadir Jasin, but a sharp reminder instead. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The running spat between Putrajaya and the Johor palace continued today with a sharp reminder to Johor’s new menteri besar about the political preference shown by the palace last year, and the need for him to now learn to be bold and speak up.

Political commentator A Kadir Jasin, a senior member of PPBM and an adviser to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said in a personal blog posting today that Dr Sahruddin Jamal should learn from his predecessor, Osman Sapian, why he lasted only 11 months in the post.

Kadir said he would withhold his congratulations to Sahruddin, who was sworn in as menteri besar today, but instead sent his good wishes that Sahruddin would succeed in serving the people of Johor and meeting their aspirations.

However, he thanked members of the state executive council and the state assembly for providing information and feedback and hoped that they would give Sahruddin their support and guidance “and monitor his performance”.

Kadir said he had been told that Sahruddin “is a quiet person and does not speak much in meetings” (of the executive council). “Now he can’t keep quiet any more or just follow what others say. He must be bold and firm.”

Kadir reminded Sahruddin of the stand taken by the Johor palace before the 2018 general election, when voters were urged to “refrain from changing the skipper” and handed a condemnation of “a man with a forked tongue”, a reference to Mahathir.

However, he pointed out that Johoreans had rejected Umno and the Barisan Nasional despite the open backing of the palace for the coalition.

Kadir’s remarks come after weeks of sniping between leaders in Putrajaya and members of the Johor palace.

Earlier today, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had advised Putrajaya against defaming and making up stories to confuse the people and focus instead on improving the economy.

In a statement issued hours after Sahruddin was sworn in, Sultan Ibrahim had said “there is no need for outsiders, who have no direction, to talk about who is in power and how the state should be run,” he said.

He said the state of Johor had been in existence for a long time and had its own system of administration.

Sahruddin, the assemblyman for Bukit Kepong, was sworn in this morning as the 17th menteri besar of Johor. He succeeds Osman, who resigned on Monday in the wake of political tensions and his involvement in several controversies.