KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirms that Datuk Osman Sapian has officially resigned as Johor Mentri Besar.
"The Johor MB resigned yesterday (April 8) via a letter to me and I will send the letter to the Johor Sultan (Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar)," he said.
Asked if there was any potential candidates to take over the position, Dr Mahathir said there are three to four.
He also said that the new mentri besar must hail from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
"For now, Johor has no mentri besar," he added.
Asked if there was any reason why Osman tendered his resignation, Dr Mahathir refused to elaborate.
"No, we are not going to say why he stepped down. There was a reason given. But if he wants to step down, we accept," he said.
Dr Mahathir added that Osman submitted resignation letters to both himself and the Johor Sultan.
"Osman met the Sultan, he submitted a resignation letter to me and another to the Johor Sultan. I have the right to read it," he quipped, drawing laughter from reporters.
Speculation of Osman's exit as Johor mentri besar mounted after he was absent from the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat on Tuesday.
It is understood that the Johor palace was dissatisfied with the way Osman handled the Sungai Kim Kim toxic gas contamination, which saw the closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang.
Among the contenders for the post are Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal, who is from Bersatu, and PKR's state Youth, Sports and Culture Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.