Rumours of Johor getting a new menteri besar after the next general election had been circulating for quite a while in that state.
Friends in Johor told me over the past weeks that it is almost certain that current MB DS Mohamed Khaled Nordin will revert back to contest his former Pasir Gudang parliament seat in the election.
Khaled is currently the state assemblyman of Permas.
However, just the other day, another source based in KL said Khaled had succeeded in his appeal to remain as Johor MB for another term.
I’m not sure which of my sources were right about this whole thing, but I believe there must be something real going on for the rumours to start in the first place.
I will however not discuss why Khaled was said to be replaced as MB due to the sensitivity of the matter.
What I’m more interested to discuss here is who could possibly replace Khalid as MB.
So far, I have heard three names for the job.
Top in the list is Datuk Daing A Malek Daing A Rahman.
He is currently the Kota Tinggi Umno division chief.
To know more about him, please click on this link,
I have never even met Daing Malek, so, I don’t think I should comment much on him.
The most that I know is that he is very close to the Johor royal family, therefore making him the most likely candidate to take over the MB job in the event it’s true that Khaled will move to Putrajaya after the next general election.
However, my sources in JB also told me that Daing Malek was not really interested in the MB job and instead prefer to concentrate on his business activities and the Kota Tinggi Umno division.
It was said that only the Sultan of Johor could persuade him to take the job.
The second name I heard to be a possible candidate for the Johor MB job is Datuk Hasni Mohammad.
He is the Pontian Umno division chief, Benut assemblyman as well as state executive councillor for public works, rural and regional development.
I actually didn’t take it seriously when I first heard that Hasni could be the next Johor MB but my sources in Johor insisted that he was indeed a prime candidate for the job.
My skepticism was because Hasni had previously been known to be very close to former Umno deputy president TS Muhyiddin Yassin, who is now the Pribumi president.
I doubt that the Umno leadership would want someone like him to be their main man in Johor.
The latest development also indicated that Hasni’s chances of landing the MB job, if true, had faded due to an issue related to his current job as a state executive councillor.
The third and latest emerging candidate for the job that I heard was quite a surprise.
He is Dr Zaini Abu Bakar, the current Nusajaya assemblyman.
Honestly, I really thought that Dr Zaini’s career will effectively ends with the coming general election.
Even his Nusajaya seat was said to be taken over by Mohammad Khairi A. Malik, who is the Gelang Patah Umno division chief and political secretary of Khaled.
Nonetheless, my sources in Johor insisted that Dr Zaini is now a strong candidate for the Johor MB post.
Someone “higher up” was said to like him and wanted him to be considered for the job.
Well, if it’s true that Khaled is to change job and become a federal minister or something after the election, then Khairi would naturally be moving along with his boss, thus giving Dr Zaini a chance of not only prolonging his political career, but also landing the Johor MB job.
Still, I think it’s a 50-50 thing and could go any other way.
After all, the next general election may only take place up to August next year.
Anything could happen between now and then.
New candidates for the Johor MB job may emerge, or maybe Khaled himself will manage to turn the tide and successfully lobby to keep his current job.
Let’s just wait and see.