On April 8, Osman Sapian officially handed-in his resignation as the Menteri Besar of Johor. However, the official announcement of his resignation was made by the Prime Minister on April 9.
His resignation was made in the middle of the spat between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Johor royalty regarding the ratification of Rome Statute.
On Twitter, Osman’s resignation quickly became a hot issue, gaining about 3,500 tweets on the peak day.
Focusing on the Twitter network topic “Johor MB”, the network can be divided into three separate clusters: blue, orange and green.
The blue and the orange clusters are closer to each other, while the position of the green cluster is a bit distanced.
The reason behind the closeness between the blue and the orange is that both clusters consist of media accounts as their influencers.
The blue cluster consists of media influencers like Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insight, The Star, Free Malaysia Today and also journalist Melissa Goh from Channel News Asia.
Besides that, there are also several other normal users that become influencers in the cluster. They are @zulhilmidaud, @nsurendrann, @GST183 and @tanjooilong.
However, from the network pattern, tweets by the normal account influencers did not reach as far as their media counterparts. This can be seen from circular-shaped groups beside the normal account influencers, which indicates a dead end.
News accounts’ tweets are more neutral, informing the masses about Osman Sapian’s resignation. But the other influencer accounts are not on the Johor’s royalty side.
@zulhilmidaud posted a gif, sarcastically proposing Tunku Ismail Idris to be the next Johor MB.
Meanwhile, @gst183 questioned the crown prince over his remark, stating that the next Johor MB shall not be Putrajaya’s yes-man.
Furthermore, @nsurendrann from Lawyers for Liberty clarified that the royalty has a limited right to appoint a Menteri Besar.
On the other hand, the orange cluster is dominated by Astro Awani. From influencers of official account 501Awani, newscaster account AsyrafAWANI to the hashtag usage of #awaninews and #awani745.
Other media accounts in the cluster are bernamadotcom and sinaronline. The media shared the news of Osman Sapian’s resignation. In return, the feedbacks received are divided.
Despite that, netizens expected the announcement as Osman was absent during the 9th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat.
Whereas, the green cluster consists of TMJ as its influencer along with SirJ40.
The crown prince tweeted a lawyer’s statement, indicating that the royalty has the right to appoint the state Menteri Besar.
@SirJ40 is supporting the royalty, but the responses have been divided. Nevertheless, the majority of the accounts in this group are on the Johor’s royalty side.
As a conclusion, Osman Sapian’s resignation as the Menteri Besar of Johor caused debates in Twitter. With its timing surrounding the Rome Statute issue, the situation does not get any better. Netizens were divided on whether rulers have the full right to appoint a Menteri Besar.