End of Mahathir era: Sin Chew Daily

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

Mukhriz Mahathir became the 11th menteri besar of Kedah after the 2013 general elections. Unfortunately he now has to bow out under pressure from his betraying colleagues. His removal from the MB office also signifies a complete end of the Mahathir era after these decades. Mukhriz has been displaying unfaltering resolution in fighting attempts to remove him from office, arguing that the rakyat are with him and believing that the Almighty God will bestow him with grace and wisdom to overcome the severe challenges lying ahead of him. The attempts by his fellow Umno comrades have won him overwhelming sympathy from the public, but that sympathy is not enough to keep him moving. Majority of people have opted to stand alongside Mukhriz out of compassion, but more so because people are seeing the Kedah crisis as a duel between PM Najib and former PM Tun Mahathir. At a time when the country is suffering political turbulence and economic downturn, Kedah has been sacrificed as a battle ground for political rivals in advancing their respective interests.

Initially the party has offered a deputy ministerial position to Mukhriz by way of an appointment to senatorship, as a condition for him to relinquish the Kedah MB post. Mukhriz has openly rejected the offer. The latest developments have seen Mukhriz being progressively alienated by majority of MPs, and this could mean his political career has probably come to a point of no return. He is prepared to break ranks with his Umno comrades rather than compromising. According to people close to the former Kedah MB, Mukhriz is not a man greedy about a government post. He is an entrepreneur by training and has so long fought on just to accomplish what he has pledged to the people of Kedah. It is therefore safe to say that Mukhriz will very likely quit politics and do what he is best suited for. Chances are high Mukhriz will pull out from politics completely, and with him now totally giving up, the Mahathir era has come to a decisive close. This will give Najib, who is firmly in command now, much less resistance to reign supreme in politics.

Against a backdrop of uncompromising political feud, it has appeared pretty straightforward now that the rivals of Mahathir and Mukhriz are not going to be any kinder to leave them with the slightest prospect of making a significant comeback in the party.

Mahathir has said if his son were to be removed, he would take his supporters with him to leave the party en masse. His rivals will love to see that he is surrendering the battle ground on his own accord, ridding the party of one tough obstacle that has haunted the party for quite some years.

Sin Chew Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, a grouping of 22 newspapers seeking to promote coverage of Asian affairs.