Umno leader Zahid in Perlis state to discuss controversy over chief minister's post

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malaysia's former deputy prime minister and acting president of Umno, speaking to reporters during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on May 14, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

ARAU, Perlis (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who has assumed the duties of the Umno president, has arrived in northern Perlis state for an audience with its ruler to resolve a controversy over the appointment of a menteri besar for the state.

Barisan Nasional (BN) won 10 of the 15 seats in the state assembly in the May 9 general election, earning the right to form the state government by first appointing a menteri besar (chief minister).

The rival Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance won three seats and opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia the remaining two.

But a few days after the elections, Perlis Umno warlord Shahidan Kassim announced that he has been given the nod by central Umno chiefs to appoint his younger brother Ismail Kassim as the next menteri besar.

This has been opposed by Azlan Man, who led the state until the elections were called.

Thus while all the other Malaysian states had sworn in their menteris besar and chief ministers, Perlis - Malaysia's smallest state - is still without a state leader.

There have been whispers of threats to jump ship to PH should one side not get to be the menteri besar.

After the shock election defeat of BN on May 9, the coalition only controls the Pahang and Sarawak state assemblies, with Perlis slated to be the third state under its rule. BN previously controlled 10 of Malaysia's 13 state assemblies.

Mr Ahmad Zahid, who was formerly Malaysia's deputy prime minister, is scheduled to meet Raja Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail.

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