JITRA (Kedah) - Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir has dismissed rumours that he will be stepping down as Kedah Menteri Besar after his father went on the warpath against his Umno party boss.
Mr Mukhriz said that his post was an amanah, or trust, given by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been at the receiving end of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's criticisms over the past two weeks.
"I feel there's no reason for me to let go of this position," Mr Mukhriz was quoted as saying by The Star on its website.
"There's no huge problem that needs me to do so," he said during an agriculture programme in Kerpan near here.
He was commenting on a rumour circulating on the Internet that he would step down next Friday.
Mr Mukhriz, who is also Kedah Umno chairman, was put in a spot when Bukit Lada assemblyman Ahmad Lebai Sudin said on Sunday that Mr Mukhriz should resign his post if he could not openly state his support for Mr Najib.
Mr Mukhriz had then said that Kedah Umno would state its stand on Mr Najib's leadership next Friday in Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Mahathir, 89, has seven children and Mr Mukhriz, 50, is the third son and fifth child.
Mr Najib has been the target of criticism from Dr Mahathir, who proclaimed in his blog on April 2 that Malaysians "no longer trust" Mr Najib and the ruling party will lose power with the 61-year-old at the helm.
Yesterday, the Malaysiakini news site reported that Dr Mahathir, who was premier from 1981 to 2003, told online portal Perak Today that his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, despite suffering a sleep condition, performed better in the general elections than Mr Najib did.
"Pak Lah slept and got (140) seats (in the 2008 General Election), he (Mr Najib) got 133 (seats in the 2013 General Election)," Dr Mahathir said yesterday, using the nickname of Mr Abdullah.
He said that Mr Najib fared worse despite giving handouts under the 1Malaysia People's Aid, or BR1M, programme.
In 2013, Mr Abdullah revealed that his predecessor had known about his sleep apnoea problem but went on to accuse him of dozing off during official events because he was not interested in his job.
In the same interview with Perak Today, Dr Mahathir claimed that Mr Najib ignored him for six months after he questioned the delay in building the "crooked bridge" during a dinner meeting.
"He (Mr Najib) said there was an agreement regarding the Causeway and we cannot touch the Causeway unless there is an agreement between both sides (Malaysia and Singapore)," Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying in the interview, according to the Malay Mail Online website.
"I said - show me the agreement. (But) No, there is no such agreement."
Dr Mahathir said that the cold treatment ended when the Umno president had a chat with "Adnan Pahang", who is believed to be Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.
The "crooked bridge", a pet project of Dr Mahathir's to replace the Causeway to Singapore, was scrapped by Mr Abdullah.
In the interview, Dr Mahathir also maintained that he has nothing to gain from the project, but the issue was about "national pride". "I don't want to kowtow to Singapore... Are we a part of Singapore? Even when we want to build a railway line, we have to ask Singapore. Why?" he asked.
"Are we independent or a colony of Singapore? I have my national pride. I do not want to bow to anyone."