Mukhriz resigns, takes a parting shot at Najib
MUKHRIZ Mahathir resigned as Kedah Chief Minister yesterday, claiming he was forced out after a two-week impasse due to his criticism of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The son of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad will be replaced by Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, 66, the Kedah Umno deputy chairman.
The latter led Kedah Umno division leaders in claiming that Mr Mukhriz, 51, failed to govern well and strengthen the party in the state.
Said Mr Mukhriz in a press conference at Alor Setar, the state capital: "To avoid this political crisis from prolonging and affecting the administration of the state to the detriment of the people, I have decided to relinquish the role of Menteri Besar of Kedah effective immediately."
He made the announcement after being informed by the Kedah Regency Council that he had lost majority support in the state assembly.
Insisting he remains loyal to Umno, he took a parting shot at Mr Najib, saying "the real reason this action was taken against me was because of the criticism I voiced out against the Prime Minister".
Mr Mukhriz was referring to his statements regarding state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) struggles with debt and US$700 million (S$1 billion) found in Mr Najib's private bank accounts last year.
Mr Mukhriz added that he would continue to serve as Ayer Hitam assemblyman.
His resignation came after meetings in the past two days between the Regency Council and assemblymen from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and the opposition.
Mr Mukhriz became Kedah Menteri Besar in 2013 after BN had wrested the state from the opposition.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Najib's office insisted that Mr Mukhriz had to resign because he had lost the support of his state assemblymen, who were concerned that "better preparations were needed to retain Kedah in the 14th general election".
Meanwhile, Umno leaders, including Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, denied that Mr Mukhriz's ouster was linked to Dr Mahathir's criticism of Mr Najib.
"If it was that, he would have been kicked out a long time ago, when the father started speaking out about 1MDB and all," he told Malay Mail Online.