KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional (BN) has submitted 38 statutory declarations (SDs) from its newly elected Johor assemblymen stating their support for Benut representative Hasni Mohammad to be appointed the state’s next menteri besar (MB), FMT has learned.
This comes amid talk of a stalemate between the coalition and the Johor palace over the choice of the new MB.
BN, which won 40 seats in Saturday’s elections, had gone to the polls with Hasni, the caretaker MB, as its “poster boy” and MB candidate.
“Datuk Seri Zahid (Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) submitted the SDs yesterday. Only one assemblyman did not sign in support of Hasni,” said a well-placed source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
“Datuk Hasni is BN’s only choice. The grassroots are quite upset that he has yet to be sworn in. It has been three days since the elections. We promised the people that Hasni would be their MB. They are not expecting anyone else.”
Hasni, who is popular among the people and politicians on both sides of the divide, yesterday sprung a surprise when he urged the BN leadership to opt for “someone younger” to lead the state.
He had not been known to have been disinterested in continuing as MB, having made clear on the campaign trail, and the night of BN’s victory, his desire to take the state to the next level.
The source said Hasni was BN’s pick as MB as he was a sensible and fair leader and that he “was his own man”.
“He is not a proxy for anyone,” said the source.
Rumours have been swirling that Onn Hafiz Ghazi, the grandson of Umno founder Onn Jaafar and a cousin of defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, is being touted as the next MB.
A report by Berita Harian yesterday speculated that Onn Hafiz, 44, would replace Hasni. However, Malaysiakini reported that Onn Hafiz was among three names proposed by Umno, with the other two being Hasni and Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi.
There was speculation that Onn Hafiz was the preferred choice of the palace.