We’ll work with any MB approved by King, Kedah lawmakers say as ouster talk gains steam

Mukhriz at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed Raya open house. – Picture by Choo Choy May
Mukhriz at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed Raya open house. – Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Two Barisan Nasional (BN) Kedah assemblymen asserted today their peers are willing to work with anyone who receives the approval of the state sultan and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, despite a purported discontent with Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s leadership of the northern state.

Kedah state executive councillor Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain said state lawmakers are prepared to support and work with any mentri besar “suggested by our PM and agreed by our King” amid a buzz that Mukhriz may be replaced as mentri besar (MB) soon.

“We are willing to work with anybody agreed by PM,” the Tanjung Dawai assemblyman and Umno Merbok division chief told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

Tajul is said to be one of 19 BN assemblymen who purportedly signed a statutory declaration expressing loss of confidence in Mukhriz.

Earlier today, several papers reported Najib was scheduled to meet with the Kedah Regency Council here this morning to discuss the leadership crisis.

News portal Malaysiakini reported spotting the prime minister’s official car in the Kedah palace compound here.

Several dailies previously reported several Kedah Umno men to be potential candidates to replace Mukhriz as MB, namely: Kedah Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah; Kedah state executive councillors Datuk Ku Abd Rahman Ku Ismail and Datuk Mohd Rawi Abdul Hamid.

Like Tajul, Kulim assemblyman Chua Tiong Ghee said state BN lawmakers will back anyone who gets the blessing of the Kedah Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah or the ruling coalition.

“We will work with anybody who is approved by Kedah Sultan because Tuanku is the symbol of unity for all the rakyat. We have to cooperate with anybody who become MB,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

When asked if their commitment was for anyone other than Mukhriz, Chua replied: “Not to say we don’t cooperate with Datuk Seri Mukhriz. We cooperate with him now, so we will cooperate.”

“Anybody, as long as is MB, we have to support because MB is our leader. So let’s say any changes made by the HQ Barisan Nasional, then we have to support, we can’t (be) against our MB.

“We have to respect whoever is MB, we have to support anybody who is MB. I have to support whoever is the MB,” he added.

Chua, who is from MCA, again declined to comment when asked if he was one of the 19 Kedah BN  lawmakers to have signed the SDs.

On Monday, the SDs were allegedly signed by 19 state assemblymen in Kedah — 17 from Umno and two from MCA — with Tajul later confirming to Malay Mail Online that both the MCA lawmakers are on board as they purportedly changed their minds after their initial reported denial.

Other Kedah assemblymen who were said to have backed Mukhriz’s removal have not responded at the time of writing.

Kedah state executive councillor Datuk Aminuddin Omar, reportedly the sole BN lawmaker apart from Mukhriz who did not sign the SDs, could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

Last week, Ahmad Bashah led a delegation of 14 Umno division chiefs, state and federal lawmakers to express their loss of confidence in Mukhriz.

Among the reasons given for their discontent was Mukhriz’s purported failure to govern the state, to unite the party and his lack of strategy to face the next general elections due in 2018.

Both Mukhriz and Ahmad Bashah have met with Najib separately since the leadership tussle exploded but the Umno president and prime minister has yet to announce any decision on the matter.

Mukhriz is expected to attend the Umno supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here after Friday prayers today.