The outcome of the highly anticipated PBB supreme council meeting today confirmed that Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud will take over as state governor, but fell short of his widely-speculated resignation.
PBB permanent chairperson Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar announced that the supreme council had agreed to propose the veteran politician as the next head of state.
"In appreciation of contributions made by Abdul Taib as chief minister; for his numerous contributions, not only to the state, but also the nation...
"The supreme council is of the view that Sarawak should bestow the honour on him by having him as the next head of the state," he told a press conference at the PBB headquarters this morning.
However, Mohamad Asfia (right) declined to put a time frame on when Abdul Taib will resign as chief minister, stating merely that it would be within a "reasonable time".
Nonetheless, Mohamad Asfia specifically said that the new chief minister will lead BN in the next Sarawak election, implying that Abdul Taib will step down before the state polls not due until 2016.
Several leaders were seen eagerly shaking Abdul Taib's hand before he departed from the meeting room without a comment, leaving Mohamad Asfia to face the media.
"Today, the CM allowed the permanent chairperson to chair the meeting and left the room in order to make a decision on the question of succession to the chief minister.
"In that meeting, a resolution was passed. The resolution was proposed by (PBB information chief) Adenan Satim and seconded by (PBB deputy president) Abang Johari Openg.
"The resolution resolved that the supreme council, together with the caucuses of the party, unanimously give the mandate to the Sarawak chief minister and PBB president to nominate a successor of his choice," said Mohamad Asfia.
'Taib to name own successor'
He added that this issue of succession will have to first be settled before Abdul Taib's stepping-down is discussed.
"He has not announced the name today, but give him reasonable time to reflect on the question and decide the name," he said.
Asked whether the potential successors were among the three names that had been highly speculated by the media, Mohamad Asfia replied: "That is a possibility".
Aside from Adenan and Abang Johari (left), another name that had cropped up over the last few days was PBB senior vice-president Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
When pointed out the current governor's term will expire on Feb 28 and asked if this meant Abdul Taib will have to step down by the end of the month to prevent a vacancy in the governorship, Mohamad Asfia replied: "It may be. One cannot preclude that possibility."
However, according to the Sarawak constitution, the House speaker can assume the office as acting governor in the event of the position being vacated without a replacement. Mohamad Asfia is also the Sarawak state assembly speaker.
Queried on the possibility of a snap election soon, he said the matter was not discussed in today's four- and a half-hour long supreme council meeting.