Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin says ready to relinquish role if needed as Economic Affairs Minister

(From left) Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, Malaysia's King Muhammad V, Pakatan Harapan presidential council member Anwar Ibrahim and Mr Anwar's wife, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail pose for pictures following Mr Anwar's release from custody in Kuala Lumpur on May 16, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has said he is ready to relinquish his role overseeing Malaysia's richest state, if he is needed to assist the federal government as the Economic Affairs Minister.

"I'm still the Selangor Menteri Besar. If a decision has been made for me to lend a helping hand in the Federal government, then I will let go of the Menteri Besar position," he said to reporters on Saturday (May 19).

However, Datuk Seri Azmin maintained that he is still the state Menteri Besar until he seeks an audience with Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah over the matter.

"As I promised yesterday, I will bring this matter up with the Sultan because it involves the Menteri Besar position," he said.

"So we want to maintain the stability and strength of the Selangor state government," he added.

Mr Azmin was speaking to reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad over the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government's plans to appoint him as minister.

According to Mr Azmin, the meeting was held so he could gather more information regarding his role as the Economic Affairs Minister should he decide to take up that portfolio.

"He (Dr Mahathir) told me to return again with a few additional suggestions to ensure that there are plans and strategies for economic development in Malaysia," he said.

Mr Azmin said that Tun Dr Mahathir acknowledged the Selangor state government's success and told him to use it as a foundation to develop other states in the country.

"It is very crucial for the new ministry and government to help and develop other states aside from Penang, Johor and Selangor," he said.

"It is a new ministry and the challenges are certainly great. In a few weeks, we have to come up with new policies and strategies. So, we really need a strong team," he added.

At the same time, Mr Azmin said that he will be reviewing all foreign mega projects inked during former prime minister Najib Razak's adminstration to ensure that no wrongdoing is involved and the projects benefit the people.

"Our priorities must be projects that benefit directly to the people, like electricity, water supply and public housing," he said.

"These are the issues that are very important to me. We have good experience and policies for public housing in Selangor and certainly we can extend that at a Federal level," he said.

When asked if the PH government would consider calling off or re-negotiating the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project, Mr Azmin said that it was still too early to comment on the matter.

"We want to see if the whole process is transparent or otherwise. So, it is my duty to look and get a team to sit down and discuss," he said.

"We may have to re-negotiate back the terms and review all these mega projects."

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