Terengganu crisis defuses after three assemblymen retract resignations

PUTRAJAYA - Three rebel Terengganu assemblymen, including the sacked menteri besar or chief minister, have returned to Umno party on Wednesday, defusing a crisis that had threatened to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BS) coalition in the oil-rich state.

Former mentri besar Ahmad Said said he met Prime Minister and Umno President Najib Razak and they agreed the matter was a misunderstanding, Malaysia Insider reported.

"It was a misunderstanding. He apologised to me and I, too, apologised," he told reporters on Wednesday evening.

The news portal quoted Mr Ahmad as saying that he will support the new menteri besar and will work hard to ensure BN wins in the next general election.

He also said BN's strength in Terengganu has been restored, with 17 representatives in the state legislative assembly.

Mr Ahmad quit Umno on Monday, hours after he was replaced by Mr Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

He was later joined by Ajil assemblyman Ghazali Taib and Bukit Besi rep Roslee Daud who resigned to become independent representatives.

The resignations left the BN with only 14 seats in the state assembly, one seat less than the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat.

But Mr Roslee has since retracted his resignation. He told reporters on Wednesday that his resignation from Umno was a rash decision made on his own accord and he was not influenced or pressured by anyone, The Star reported.

He said he resigned because he was taken aback by the sudden replacement of Mr Ahmad Said as Mentri Besar on Monday.

"There is no rivalry among us but we were working hard to develop the state and, suddenly, there is a change in Mentri Besar,'' he was quoted as saying.

"I was surprised at the (replacement) decision but after an explanation from the party leadership, including from (party president) Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, I now feel that the decision (to appoint a new Mentri Besar) was for the best.

Mr Ahmad Razif, the new menteri besar, said Mr Ghazali Taib, who also resigned from Umno, had also epressed desire to return to the party, The New Straits Times reported.