Attacks on 1MDB led to ouster, says ex-Kedah chief minister Mukhriz Mahathir

Mukhriz Mahathir sitting in front of a picture of his father, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, during a meeting in Petaling Jaya in 2008.
Mukhriz Mahathir sitting in front of a picture of his father, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, during a meeting in Petaling Jaya in 2008.PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA • Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has claimed in a viral video that he was dropped as Kedah Menteri Besar due to his criticisms of debt-ridden state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and a RM2.6 billion (S$876.5 million) donation made to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In the almost eight-minute video posted on the Facebook group Mukhriz Mahathir FC, Mr Mukhriz claimed that around the time of his removal, he attended a private meeting with Datuk Seri Najib who allegedly chided Mr Mukhriz for attacking him.

"He was not happy with my speech in Saloma Bistro. He said that as Menteri Besar, I should not say such things against him as a prime minister. And because of that, I had to vacate my position," he was quoted as saying by The Star.

In December last year, Mr Mukhriz hosted a dinner at the Saloma Bistro for Kedah Umno delegates, during which he allegedly delivered a speech criticising Mr Najib's handling of the 1MDB issue.

Mr Najib chairs the advisory board of 1MDB, which is currently under investigation for alleged financial irregularities. The probe by the Public Accounts Committee - a bipartisan panel in the Malaysian Parliament - is expected to be wrapped up soon, committee chairman Hasan Arifin said on Wednesday.

In the clip, Mr Mukhriz said: "For the hour and a half that we talked, he never once said that he was disappointed with me due to my inability to govern in Umno or in the state.

"We all know why this (sacking) happened. It is not because I failed in administering Umno, although I admit that I had my shortcomings."

Mr Mukhriz, who quit on Feb 3, was replaced by Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah who was at the forefront of the coup against Mr Mukhriz last month.

Mr Bashah yesterday took over from his predecessor as the chairman of the Kedah Umno liaison committee, Bernama news agency reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'Attacks on 1MDB led to ouster, says Mukhriz'. Print Edition | Subscribe