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    Jan 22, 2016

    Some Kedah Umno leaders want Dr M's son out, but others in the dark


    SOME Kedah United Malays National Organisation (Umno) leaders had declared open revolt against the Malaysian state's Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir at a press conference, but others said they had appeared at the event not knowing what it was about, the Malaysian media reported.

    Mr Mukhriz is former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's son.

    Kedah Wanita Umno chief Maznah Hamid said yesterday she and several party leaders were in the dark when they attended the press conference on Wednesday in Alor Setar, which called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to remove Mr Mukhriz as the chief minister, the Sinar Harian reported.

    According to Ms Maznah, they were told they were invited to a closed-door briefing.

    "Yet, when we arrived, there was no such briefing.

    "Instead, we were told to attend a press conference we knew nothing of and to sit in front," she added.

    The press conference was called by 14 of the 15 Kedah Umno's division chiefs and chaired by Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, the ruling party's deputy liaison chairman in the state.

    According to him, Kedah Umno had lost confidence in Mr Mukhriz, who has helmed the state since 2013, and wants him replaced, reported The Malaysian Insider news website.

    The division chiefs also said Mr Mukhriz had lost focus because he spent too much time in Kuala Lumpur and could not provide the leadership needed to run the state effectively.

    Many Malaysian media see the move as a tit-for-tat by Mr Najib against Dr Mahathir, Mr Mukhriz's father, who has pressed for his ouster over alleged corruptions and misgovernance.

    Mr Mukhriz has also taken swipes at Mr Najib, such as his remarks at a dinner last year calling for leadership reform in Umno, reported the Malaysia Chronicle news portal.

    According to The Star daily, supporters rallied behind Mr Mukhriz yesterday, with many posting words of encouragement on his daughter's Instagram account, telling the family to be strong in the face of the crisis.

    Mr Mukhriz responded defiantly to the "coup" on Wednesday night with a statement saying that he is Kedah's chief minister by virtue of the people's mandate and the state sultan's consent.

    According to Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, who teaches political science at the Northern University of Malaysia, it was too early to predict if Mr Mukhriz would be removed, as the dismissal must get the consent of Kedah's sultan.

    Meanwhile, the High Court of Kuala Lumpur has struck out opposition coalition Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR's) suit against Mr Najib and three others over claims that the Prime Minister committed election offences following revelations that RM2.6 billion (S$850 million) was deposited in his private accounts.

    According to PKR, the money indicated corrupt tactics had been used by the ruling party to win the general election in 2013.

    The judge yesterday ruled that PKR did not have the locus standi to bring the suit, which he said was actually criminal in nature and must be filed by a public officer or someone from the party holding government office.