JOHOR BAHRU (April 15): Bukit Kepong assemblyman Dr Sahruddin Jamal was sworn in as the 17th menteri besar (MB) of Johor at Istana Bukit Serene here yesterday.
According to a posting on Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s official Facebook page, the swearing-in ceremony was held in the audience room, Istana Bukit Serene, at 9.30am.
Also present were Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and Sultan Ibrahim’s son-in-law Datuk Dennis Muhammad Abdullah.
Sahruddin, 43, who was Johor’s health, environment and agriculture committee chairman, succeeds Datuk Osman Sapian, who stepped down as MB on April 8.
The Johor Pakatan Harapan’s secretary, born on May 26, 1975, holds an MBBS degree from Universiti Hasanuddin, Makassar, Indonesia.
Before entering politics, he operated his own clinic, Klinik Dr Sahruddin, in Bukit Pasir, Pagoh.
In the 14th general election (GE14) last year, Sahruddin, from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), won the Bukit Kepong seat, which was previously known as Bukit Serampang.
He defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Mohd Noor Taib by a majority of 1,273 votes.
Sahruddin was also seen playing an instrumental role in tackling the toxic waste contamination crisis involving Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, which lasted about two weeks last month.
More than 100 schools had to be closed while the health of hundreds of people was affected due to the release of hazardous gases from the contaminated site.
However, there were no fatalities.
Speculation became rife that he was to be the next MB when he was the official representative of Osman for the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders’ Retreat in Putrajaya on April 9, a day after Osman had a meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The meeting was understood to be about the status of Osman as MB. Dr Mahathir announced Osman’s resignation as MB of Johor the next day.
In GE14, Johor Pakatan (made up of DAP, PKR, Amanah and Bersatu) won 36 seats out of the 56 seats at stake. BN won 19 and PAS one.
Out of the 36 seats, DAP won 14, followed by Amanah (nine), PKR (five) and Bersatu (eight).
However, Bersatu’s tally increased by three when three independents joined the party —
Alwiyah Talib (Endau) in September, as well as Rasman Ithnain (Sedili) and Rosleli Jahari (Johor Lama) in November.
This changed the composition of the state assembly to Pakatan having 39 seats, BN 16 and PAS one.