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10 APRIL 2024

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rauf nominated as new Malacca CM

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has confirmed speculation that Tanjung Bidara assemblyperson Ab Rauf Yusoh has been nominated for the position of Malacca chief minister.

Rauf (above), who is the state BN chairperson, will replace Sulaiman Md Ali, who tendered his resignation yesterday, which Zahid attributed to health reasons.

Zahid said that a letter was sent to Malacca governor Ali Rustam with the nomination.

“I have issued a letter to the Malacca governor (Ali Rustam) to accept Sulaiman’s resignation.

“Through that letter, the party nominated Rauf as the new chief minister,” he said at a press conference today after chairing a meeting with the National Entrepreneur Development and SME Corp Council.

Asked for the reasons behind Sulaiman’s resignation, Zahid responded: “He (Sulaiman) said it was due to health.”

Umno president and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Since Monday, speculation has been rife that Rauf, who is also the Malacca Umno chairperson, would soon be appointed as the new chief minister.

However, Zahid refused to confirm or deny the matter until today.

Rauf is expected to be sworn in tomorrow as the state’s 13th chief minister. The ceremony is scheduled to be held at 3pm at the Dewan Seri Utama of the Malacca Governor’s Office.

Meanwhile, Zahid reiterated that the state’s exco would include a unity state government similar to the federal level. 

“I discussed the exco lineup since we have the spirit of the unity government that has been going well on the national level.

“I am confident that the spirit will flow to Malacca to allow not only Malaccans but Malaysians its good optics,” he said.

Malacca BN has 21 seats in the state legislative assembly - followed by Pakatan Harapan with five and Perikatan Nasional with two.

Malacca Harapan assemblypersons have already joined as government backbenchers in December last year, following the formation of the federal unity government.

However, the Malacca state exco line-up remained exclusively BN.

Bad blood?

The issue of a leadership change has been heating up in the months after BN scored a major victory during the state election held on Nov 20, 2021.

There have been repeated allegations since then that Sulaiman was being undermined by Rauf, who denied the claims.

The latest speculation surfaced last December, when it was reported that Sulaiman would step down as chief minister in early January to be replaced by Rauf.

However, both Sulaiman and Rauf denied the rumours, saying Rauf was only the acting chief minister because Sulaiman was on leave at the time until Dec 28.

Outgoing Malacca chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali

That was not the first time the duo were at odds. 

In his capacity as chief minister, Sulaiman terminated the controversial Melaka Gateway project in 2020 after its developer KAJ Development Sdn Bhd failed to complete the reclamation works on time.

Rauf then reinstated KAJ Development as the Melaka Gateway project developer after the project became part of the Malacca Waterfront Economic Zone, which involved an expanded reclamation effort involving an area along 33km of Malacca’s coastline.

This led to speculation of a rift between Sulaiman and Rauf, who, as the Malacca Umno chief, outranks the chief minister in the party hierarchy.

In September last year, Rauf also announced the proposed development of a route to link Malaysia and Indonesia via Telok Gong in Masjid Tanah, Malacca and Dumai, in Sumatra, involving a distance of about 120km. 

He said that the proposed development, which involves constructing a tunnel or bridge, would take 20 years via the cooperation of the private sector. 

Apart from that, he said, a new area that would house various industrial activities would be developed in stages in Masjid Tanah, in an area covering about 2,023 hectares.

Development of the area would be carried out by the Melaka Corporation and is expected to also contribute to the opening of a new town in Masjid Tanah, Rauf added. - Mkini

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