Johor Bersatu secretary Mohd Solihan Badri (above) today urged the state's division chiefs to accept the appointment of Mazlan Bujang as Johor Bersatu liaison chairperson.
In a statement, Solihan noted that even Johor Menteri Besar Sahruddin Jamal had accepted Mazlan's appointment.
He said Mazlan, who is the Tebrau division chief, also had no qualms about working with Sahruddin.
"So there's no reason for division chiefs to be reluctant in supporting the state leadership," he said.
He reminded some division chiefs who were directly appointed by the party president and the Bersatu central chairperson that grassroots members were observing them and warned they could be replaced when the next selection process is held this year.
Solihan also questioned how the party leadership and grassroots could work together if there was a gap between the divisions and the leadership.
Sahrudin was a good example of a leader who had put aside his personal agenda to work hard for the party and the state, he said, adding Johoreans had given a chance to the party in the previous general election to provide better service to the people.
"Not for the leaders to use the party as a platform to secure position, power and to play political games," he said.
Solihan's response followed a media report by The Star that claimed that trouble was brewing in Johor Bersatu with internal disputes over Mazlan's appointment as the new chairperson.
It said a group of Bersatu division leaders had sent a memorandum to party chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad in their bid to have Mazlan removed.
Mazlan had responded by saying that he was unperturbed.
“I am aware of a group meeting with Dr Mahathir. But I have the full backing of the chairperson and party president. They have even appointed me as a supreme council member in the party,” he said.
He added he did not have issues working with Sahruddin and hoped that all the 26 division leaders would move on from the issue. The report also said that at the recent Hari Raya gathering with the Johor ruler, Mazlan was not invited.
To this, Mazlan said he was not disappointed and that he had another programme to attend to on that day.
Mazlan was named as the Johor Bersatu liaison chairperson replacing former menteri besar Osman Sapian in April.
His appointment was a departure from the norm in that the menteri besar normally also held the position of state party chairperson.
Instead, Johor's new Menteri Besar Sahruddin Jamal, who replaced Osman, became the Johor Bersatu secretary.
Observers speculate the switch stemmed from Osman's sudden resignation and the appointment of Sahruddin as the new MB, a choice which Mahathir was said not to favour.
Sharuddin was nevertheless sworn in by the Johor ruler amidst the ongoing tiff between Mahathir and the Johor palace.