PETALING JAYA • The Kedah Regency Council has asked to meet Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen regarding the Menteri Besar issue.
It has been learnt that the three- person Regency Council will meet the assemblymen individually tomorrow, so that members of the council can make an assessment of the situation and the parties concerned can reach a final solution.
According to Kedah political sources, the move was necessitated by Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir's refusal to resign from the Menteri Besar post, reported The Star.
All 21 BN assemblymen will be summoned, including Mr Mukhriz.
The sources believe that the meeting in Alor Setar is also being held so the Regency Council members can assess for themselves whether the majority of Barisan assemblymen support a change of Menteri Besar.
A total of 19 assemblymen reportedly signed statutory declarations agreeing to the change last week.
Among the reasons given for their discontent was Mr Mukhriz's purported failure to govern the state and unite the party, as well as his lack of strategy to face the next general election due in 2018, reported The Malay Mail Online.
Kedah Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah held a joint press conference with 14 Kedah Umno division chiefs in Alor Setar to publicly express their loss of confidence in Mr Mukhriz on Jan 20, reported the Malaysiakini news website.
Both Mr Mukhriz and Mr Ahmad Bashah have since met Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the Umno president, separately. However, he has yet to announce any decision on the matter.
Kedah has 36 state seats and the statutory declarations imply that Barisan's move for a change of Menteri Besar has majority support.
However, there have been claims that some of the assemblymen signed the statutory declaration under duress. Kota Siputeh assemblyman Abu Hasan Shariff claimed during a ceramah or rally last week that he was pressured to sign, saying that he had "tried to run and hide, but they chased me until I nearly fell into the sea".
Two Malaysian Chinese Association Kedah state assemblymen have also denied signing the declaration, reported Malaysiakini.
The new development has shades of the Perak Menteri Besar crisis, during which the Sultan met a few assemblymen to assess their stand on the issue.
Datuk Seri Najib presented his proposed names for a new Menteri Besar to the Regency Council last Friday morning. This came after he was granted an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah on the matter on Wednesday. Mr Najib had indicated that a motion of confidence against Mr Mukhriz would not be tabled at the state legislative assembly, asserting that the Kedah Regency Council had not rejected the party's list of candidates for a new Menteri Besar, the Malay Mail Online reported.
Mr Mukhriz issued a statement last night asserting that the actions of the Umno leaders who called for his resignation on Jan 20 - at a time when Kedahans were celebrating the Sultan's 88th birthday - were irresponsible. He said they had offended not only the Sultan, but also the Kedah Regency Council, and called for an apology.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK