ALOR SETAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Believing that he has the support of over 90 per cent of people living in Kedah, the Malaysian state's Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir says he is willing to step aside if there is a better and capable candidate.
He said he would gladly step down from the position if his replacement has the full mandate of the people.
"If the people in Kedah no longer support me, I will willingly step down on my own," he told some 500 supporters at the Jerlun Umno division headquarters in Alor Setar on Thursday (Jan 21).
"But if they still support me, I will continue to perform as best as I can and set forth strategies that I have planned for the state.
"I'm not concerned about the 14 division chiefs if they no longer support me because I have two million people in Kedah of whom the majority are still supporting me."
Datuk Seri Mukhriz, who is Jerlun Umno division chief, denied talk that he would leave Umno.
"Whatever I have been doing is aimed at strengthening the party to face the 14th General Election.
"Nobody should make the assumption that I will be jumping to another party. I will continue to work hard to ensure Kedah remains with Barisan Nasional in the next general election.
"We will win with style. For that to happen, I need coorperation from everyone," he added.
Kedah Umno deputy chairman Ahmad Bashah on Wednesday claimed that 14 out of 15 Umno divisions in the state had lost their trust and confidence in Mr Mukhriz as chief minister and Kedah Umno chief.
Datuk Bashah urged Umno president Najib Razak to replace Mr Mukhriz for failing to unite the party and machinery at all levels in the state and failing to bring development.
Supporters are rallying behind the embattled Kedah chief minister, with many posting words of encouragement on his daughter's Instagram account.
Mr Mukhriz's daughter Meera Alyanna posted an old photo of herself with her father to her 32,000 followers, without any accompanying caption.
Supporters were quick to write warm messages, such as one from Ellisya Aiman that said: "I hope both you and your dad see how many of us are behind him."
Many wrote in, asking Ms Meera Alyanna and her family to stay strong in the face of crisis.
Her Instagram post has been "liked" 989 times and attracted 60 comments.
Her captionless Instagram post was cryptic, but Ms Meera Alyanna has voiced support for Mr Mukhriz on her Twitter account.
"In Mukhriz we trust. May the force be with you papa," she posted as @ally_mukhriz at 11.51pm on Jan 20.
The post has been retweeted 149 times since and garnered 65 "likes" so far.