Defect threat roils Terengganu

KUALA TERENGGANU • Terengganu is being roiled again by the same senior Umno politician who once threatened to break ranks.

Former Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Said, unhappy at being sidelined by the state's current leaders, has threatened that he and another assemblyman might withdraw their support for the government, thus causing a hung legislature.

Umno has 17 seats in the state assembly, with opposition parties Parti Islam SeMalaysia with 14, and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, one.

Losing support from Datuk Seri Ahmad and another Umno assemblyman will lead to a 15-15 hung assembly, possibly forcing Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman to call for snap elections in the oil- and timber-rich state.

Mr Ahmad Said has the support of senior Umno assemblyman Ghazali Taib to defect. This was not the first time that the former menteri besar has threatened to defect.

Mr Ahmad Said was dropped as chief minister in May 2014, when Prime Minister Najib Razak put his loyalists in place after winning the 2013 general election.

But Mr Ahmad Said has refused to go quietly.

Things came to a head again recently when he learnt that his successor, Mr Ahmad Razif, was trying to get him sacked from Umno.

"Imagine if I quit the party now. Within 24 hours, he will not be the MB (menteri besar) anymore. Does he realise this?" Mr Ahmad Said told The Star newspaper last week.

The problems in the east-coast state are an unnecessary headache for Mr Najib, who is dealing with fallout from big troubles at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, a weak economy and rising street inflation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2016, with the headline 'Defect threat roils Terengganu'. Print Edition | Subscribe