Onn Hafiz sworn in as Johor MB

Onn Hafiz would face a huge challenge in getting BN state assemblymen to cooperate and help him in administering the state


UMNO risks losing the support and confidence from Johor voters following the appointment of Machap State Assemblyman (ADUN) Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi as the 19th Mentri Besar (MB) of the state.

His appointment came as a surprise mainly because the state election had Benut assemblyman and former Johor MB Datuk Hasni Mohammad’s face plastered all over the party which led to BN’s landslide victory over the weekend.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had also said that there were no other candidates for the post except Hasni.

“This conflict would lead to chaos within Johor Umno leadership in the long term. Voters who had chosen Umno and BN because they believed Hasni would become the MB would no longer trust the party because both Umno and BN had failed in keeping their promises with regards to the appointment, which was agreed upon by the majority of the rakyat and the party,” University Malaya socio-political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday.

He added that Umno’s image may be less tainted ahead of the general election if Hasni was chosen as the MB as it would have reflected the party’s unity in overcoming the conflict.

Onn Hafiz was sworn in in front of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar yesterday.

Prior to Onn Hafiz’s appointment, Hasni had made a shocking announcement on Monday that the MB post could be helmed by someone younger.

The 43-year-old Onn Hafiz is the great-grandson of Umno’s founder, Datuk Onn Jaafar. He was the assemblyman for Layang Layang’s state seat before being elected as the Machap rep in the state polls last weekend.

Meanwhile, the University Malaya political analyst Dr Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub opined that Onn Hafiz would face a huge challenge in getting BN ADUN to cooperate and help him in administering the state.

He, however, noted that the crisis would not prolong because the same issue had taken place in other states previously such as in Perlis and Terengganu.

“Although it may seem like the Johor crisis can be settled, there are still risks once the state assembly commences. Onn Hafiz could face a motion of no confidence by ADUN members, especially those from BN if he does not step down as MB,” he said.

On his Twitter account, Hasni posted a photo with the caption “Terima Kasih Johor” (Thank You Johor) before the official announcement on Onn Hafiz’s appointment was made.

Umno veteran leader Tan Sri Shahrir Samad had said that he was “ashamed” his party did not proceed with Hasni to lead Johor as planned.

“Throughout the campaign, I laughed at PN (Perikatan Nasional) and PH (Pakatan Harapan) as well as their allies who were unable to nominate their candidate as MB. Umno is definitely with Dato Hasni as MB. But it’s not strong enough. And Umno Johor cannot afford to do anything,” he said on his Facebook post.

The Johor state assembly was dissolved on Jan 22 to make way for a state election.

Hasni had previously stated that he was not pressured into dissolving the state assembly but had chosen to do so for political stability as the ruling government then only had a narrow one-seat majority following the death of Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian.

BN won a total of 40 seats and secured the two-thirds majority in the 56-member Johor state assembly. Umno contributed 33 seats for the coalition while MCA and MIC bagged four and three seats respectively.