Mahathir's son avoids stating his stand on PM Najib's leadership, calls off Umno meeting

ALOR SETAR: Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir will apparently not be stating his stand on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's leadership after all.

Kedah Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, who led 18 of the 21 Kedah Barisan Nasional assemblymen and Kedah Umno division chiefs to voice their support for the mentri besar yesterday, agreed that Mukhriz would not issue any statement on the matter.

"All of us agreed to call off the Kedah Umno meeting which Mukhriz had said will be held on April 24 in Kuala Lumpur where he would then issue a statement," Ahmad Bashah told an emergency press conference yesterday which was attended by the 18 assemblymen and 12 of the 15 Kedah Umno division chiefs.

Ahmad Bashah, who is Bakar Bata assemblyman, claimed that the other three Umno divisions were represented by their deputy chiefs.

He also claimed that Bayu assemblyman Datuk Azmi Che Hussein, who could not be present, had also voiced his support for Mukhriz while Pantai Merdeka assemblyman Ali Yahaya and Bukit Lada assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Lebai Sudin were overseas.

Mukhriz, who is also Kedah Umno chairman, came under pressure recently when Ahmad Lebai urged him to step down as mentri besar for failing to openly state his support for Najib's leadership.

Ahmad Lebai had said last Sunday that since Mukhriz was appointed as mentri besar by Najib, he should vacate the post if he could not bring himself to declare his loyalty.

Ahmad Bashah said those present at the press conference yesterday had a meeting with Mukhriz earlier and they agreed that the mentri besar would not issue any statement regarding his support for Najib's leadership.

He said they hoped the issue regarding the call for Mukhriz to state his stand on Najib's leadership would be put to rest.

"We also want to stress that there is no crack in Kedah Umno," he told the press conference which was held at the mentri besar's official residence in Seri Mentaloon here.

Ahmad Bashah said they also expressed their undivided support for Najib as the prime minister and Umno president.

"At the same time, we also support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the former prime minister and we hope he would give time to Najib to answer questions that he raised," he said.

He said they also supported Najib's move in instructing the Auditor-General to investigate 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

When contacted yesterday, Ahmad Lebai said Mukhriz must state his stand on Najib's leadership as his father, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had created a negative perception of Najib.

"How can he allow his father to criticise Najib and ask him to resign," he added.