Political Tussle in UMNO Johor

September 23, 2011

Political Tussle in UMNO Johor for the Post of Menteri Besar

by Lee Way Loon@http://www.malaysiakini.com
Sep 22, 11

Johor BN potentially faces possible infighting if reports that moves are under way to replace incumbent Mentri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman in the coming general election are true.

Abdul Ghani, who has been in office since 1995, was reported by Chinese dailies yesterday to have fallen out of favour. However, due to royal intervention and political factors, he still hung on to his MB post.

Recently, rumours yet again are circulating in Johor political circles that BN may ask Abdul Ghani (right) to contest a parliamentary seat, paving the way for current Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin to take over.

Speculations over the subject became more heated after it was reported that Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail made a surprise appearance at Khaled’s Hari Raya open house function recently. This, according to the reports, is a “meaningful sign” from the palace.

Sultan Ibrahim succeeded his father Sultan Iskandar Ismail in January 2010. The late sultan is said to have had better relations with Abdul Ghani.

Johor has been the BN and UMNO stronghold for decades. But it is also a well-known fact that there are many factions within Johor UMNO.

It is said that Prime Minister and UMNO President Najib Abdul Razak plans to place his supporter in the state in an effort to rein in his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin who is highly influential in the state.

The reports had listed a few potential candidates to replace Abdul Ghani, aside from Khaled (right). Among them are Pulai MP Nur Jazlan Mohamad, Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad and Pasir Raja state assemblyperson Adham Baba.

Pakatan won’t take it easy

When contacted, state DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau agrees that the issue may ignite another round of infighting within Johor UMNO, perhaps repeating then Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon’s mistake.

Penang Gerakan was split three ways after Koh refused to explicitly name a successor when he was elevated to contest a parliamentary seat during the 2008 general election. “There is the possibility of infighting (in UMNO), but we cannot say whether there will be any sabotage, because we don’t know how strong the dissatisfaction is,” Boo said.

While agreeing that UMNO infighting can boost Pakatan Rakyat’s chances of taking over the state, he pointed out that the coalition will still need to sweat it out to ensure victory.

“Some of our leaders appear to be arrogant after the 2008 election. We need to work hard and shouldn’t rely on BN weaknesses to win the state,” he said.

Johor PAS commissioner Mahfodz Mohamed also said that regardless of the UMNO candidate for the MB post, Pakatan will continue its campaign to challenge the BN.

He said the people will not change their perception of UMNO even if Khaled took over from Abdul Ghani. This, he said, is because BN policies will remain the same. “Abdul Ghani may have made many mistakes, that’s why the BN wants to change people now. But Khaled is also from UMNO… to us they are all the same.”

6 thoughts on “Political Tussle in UMNO Johor

  1. What is new? It is a clear sign that GE-13 is imminent. It is time for Ghani to make way for a fresh face in Johor. Khaled Nordin deserves a chance to take Johor into a new era. Former University of Malaya Don Ghani’s experience, however, can be tapped at center, maybe as a key Federal Minister. The final call will be made by UMNO President who surely wants to keep Johor under Barisan Nasional.–Din Merican

  2. Yeah change from BN to PR is the best. But realistically speaking that may not happen in the near future. If BN still rules Johor, its about time Ghani makes way for another person to be MB. 3 terms is more than enough. There’s no such thing as a person is indispensible, especially if you are not young anymore. There are many other ways a person can contribute to the sate/country.

    We should have a law to restrict PM/MB to a maximum of two terms only, be it BN or PR. New ideas will come with change in leadership and less potential corruption too.

  3. Khaled, Ghani and Muhyiddin are my uncle’s friends. I’ve met them on several occasions. Don’t think having one of them in power would make a difference to UMNO Johor or Johor for that matter.

    I’ve pretty given up on Johor anyway. It’s nicer talking politics with people from the north. I have some Kedahan friends here and like you, Dato’, they are very progressive and not afraid of changes. It’s refreshing to debate with them than with your average UMNO zombies, easily found in the streets of Johor Bahru.

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