JOHOR BARU,. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) Tebrau division chief Mazlan Bujang appears set to become the party’s new Johor state liaison chairman to replace former mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian.
Mazlan’s appointment would be a departure from the convention in which the mentri besar or chief minister would typically helm the party’s state chapter.
A Bersatu source confirmed that Mazlan will be named to lead the party’s Johor chapter soon but dismissed claims that this will undermine newJohor Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal’s position in the party.
“The accepted practice will normally see the mentri besar of chief minister appointed by the party’s central leadership as the state party chairman. However, it is also not wrong to offer the position to an eligible party member.
“Mazlan is seen as capable in bringing Johor forward for Bersatu as he has proven himself with strong grassroots support and loyalty to the party,” the source told Malay Mail today.
Dr Sahruddin is currently the Johor Bersatu secretary, which is an appointed post. He does not have an elected position within his own branch or division in the party.
The same source also said Mazlan, who is Puteri Wangsa assemblyman, has been endorsed for the position as the Bersatu senior leadership acknowledged his role as an instrumental advocate of the party’s interests in Johor.
“He (Mazlan) has managed to establish many Bersatu branches in the Tebrau constituency and has also assisted in actively promoting the party within Johor,” explained the source.
Another source close to the state Bersatu leadership said Mazlan’s appointment was not surprising as the 54-year-old has a proven track record as the former Johor public works, infrastructure and transportation committee chairman.
“Despite being dropped from his exco post earlier this month, Mazlan took it positively and still continued to establish more branches and grow the membership under the party.
“At the same time, he has maintained solid ties with Bersatu’s central leadership and can effectively bridge the gap with the party’s state members,” said the source, adding that Mazlan’s role can effectively separate between the political interest and administrative governance of Johor that comes under the mentri besar.
Late last night, former lawyer to the Johor palace Kamal Hisham Jaafar uploaded a picture of Mazlan holding what appeared to be an appointment letter together with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the prime minister’s office in Putrajaya.
Dr Mahathir is the chairman of PPBM.
The picture was accompanied by Kamal Hisham’s congratulations to Mazlan on the appointment as the Johor Beratu state liaison chairman, which appeared to confirm earlier speculation.
However, Malay Mail’s checks with Mazlan’s aide resulted in neither a confirmation or denial.
“Let us wait for an official announcement by Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya that I believe will be done very soon,” said Khairul Hashim, who is also Mazlan’s special officer.
On Sunday, Johor Bersatu media director Mohd Solihan Badri confirmed that a name was already selected but denied an earlier report claiming that Mazlan had a majority vote from the party’s state divisions to replace Osman.
Mazlan is known to be aligned to Dr Mahathir and Bersatu supreme council member Datuk A Kadir Jasin.
Several days ago, rumours began appearing that he would succeed Osman in the state chapter.
Mazlan’s choice is seen as equalising the party’s state leadership as Dr Sahruddin is considered aligned with Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Mazlan had been among those bandied about to be the next MB following Osman’s resignation on April 8.
After he was dropped as an exco, Mazlan sparked controversy when he declared that he was not part of Dr Sahruddin’s “team”.