KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak met the Kedah Regency Council chairman on Friday (Jan 29), signalling an imminent end to the state's menteri besar crisis, said reports.
New Straits Times reported that Datuk Sri Najib met Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah for about an hour in the morning. They were believed to have discussed the replacement of Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir.
Mr Najib was expected to hand over a letter of endorsement naming the person to take over from Mr Mukhriz, The Star reported.
The political crisis in Kedah was triggered last week after 14 Kedah Umno division chiefs called for Mr Mukhriz's removal as Menteri Besar, a move many saw as being orchestrated by Mr Najib's allies.
Mr Mukhriz, the son of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, has joined his father in strongly criticising Mr Najib's leadership.
The prime minister is believed to have received blessing for the leadership change from Kedah Sultan, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, whom he met on Wednesday.
The Star, however, reported that the new appointment is not a done deal as yet, adding that the Regency Council, which comprises the King's two younger brothers and his only daughter, is believed to have reservations over Mr Najib's proposed candidate for menteri besar.
As such, the decision on a new menteri besar may not necessarily be known by Friday, the report said.
Mr Najib is reportedly in favour of Bakar Bata assemblyman Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, the current Kedah Umno deputy chief and Deputy Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister.
The Star reported that if everything goes well, the swearing-in of the new menteri besar is likely to be on Monday (Feb 1).
Palace procedures suggest that Mr Mukhriz will be called to the palace to be informed of the royal consent for the change.
The Malaysian Insider reported on Thursday that Mr Mukhriz will attend the Umno Supreme Council meeting on Friday where his fate would be decided.