KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir today denied speculation that he will replace Maszlee Malik as education minister following the latter’s resignation from the post last Friday.
Mukhriz said there was much that still needs to be done in Kedah, in his capacity as mentri besar.
He said he was puzzled as to how his name surfaced as Maszlee’s plausible successor.
“I do not know how my name came about in unverified news on social media. Much work remains in Kedah,” Mukhriz said at a press conference, after attending the swearing-in ceremony for Alor Setar City Council councillors at Menara MBAS earlier today, which was posted on his Facebook page.
Rumours have been circulating online after several posters emerged which implied that several individuals including deputy ministers or Kedah state exco members are set to take Mukhriz’s place as mentri besar.
The rumours have since been denied by his official social media page Mukhriz Mahathir FC, which has repeatedly shared the posters and described them as false.
Similarly, the mentri besar said he was in the dark about Maszlee’s resignation, despite having met Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a day before it was announced.
“Tun did not inform me of anything concerning the matter, nor did I speak a word about it. Hence, why when I was asked about it, I can only say I do not know.
“As to who will succeed him, we do not know, and it is entirely up to the prime minister since it is his prerogative. We at Parti Pribumi Bersatu will not interfere,” Mukhriz said.
Maszlee’s resignation after 22 months as minister, which he described as returning the portfolio to the Prime Minister, was done after Dr Mahathir advised him to do so. Since then, an outpouring of sympathy has emerged, with an online petition requesting Maszlee’s reinstation surpassing half a million signatures.