KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Embattled former Johor mentri besar Datuk Osman Sapian has defended his move to support an independent candidate aligned with Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) in the recent Slim by-election.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, Osman said unlike other former Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs, he did not throw his support behind other political parties like Barisan Nasional (BN) or those in the Muafakat Nasional (MN) coalition, which consists of Umno and PAS MPs.
“Yes, it was me in that video. I wanted to show my dissatisfaction.
“I went to campaign for an independent candidate not someone from Amanah and so on. Whereas Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was campaigning for BN when we’re neither in BN nor in MN,” Sapian told the Malay daily.
Osman’s loyalty to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) was questioned after allegations surfaced of his supposed impending exit to join Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party Pejuang after he was publicly seen with several of the new party’s leaders during the Slim by-election campaign.
Following that, a video went viral last Saturday showing Osman, who is also the Ayer Hitam Bersatu division chief, supposedly speaking on the campaign trail in support of Independent candidate Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi.
In the video, Osman was said to have admitted being the Kempas state assemblyman on Bersatu’s ticket and that he was still a member of the party but pointed out that Bersatu had strayed from its original struggles.
He chided prime minister and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for taking Bersatu out of PH and joining Umno before going on to establish Perikatan Nasional.
“Moreover, I see those in MN rejecting Bersatu so what’s their direction now? I did what I did so that there can be a reckoning within Bersatu’s leadership.
“I notice Umno leaders always mocking Bersatu. Some say we are a tiny party and others say we do not deserve any seats (in the elections). Why are Bersatu members quiet about this?” Osman asked.
“Instead, we are busy defending Umno. I have not seen a single press conference to ask for this sort of thing to stop. Have they all been bought by Umno?
“So let me be the victim and voice my dissatisfaction against the party grassroots that do not have time to speak for themselves,” he was quoted saying.
Osman, however, told Utusan Malaysia that his seat in the state assembly still belongs to Muhyiddin and Bersatu unless he gets the sack tomorrow during the state assembly.