Mahathir's son fights to cling on to his Umno post

Kedah's Chief Minister Mukhriz Mahathir said he will only step down if there is a leader better than him, who is fully supported by the people.

ALOR SETAR - Mentri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir, who is fighting to hold on to his position after a declaration of no confidence by many state Umno divisional leaders, says he will not walk away from his duties.

Addressing a gathering of his Jerlun division members here, Mukhriz said he felt he had done nothing wrong.

He said he was prepared to step down if there was a leader better than him and whom the people fully supported.

"If I have done wrong and am regarded as not good, and there is someone better than I and who the people of Kedah trust, I will support that person," he said.

"If there is none, then why change? This is not a question of 14 people not having confidence in me. It is more important that the two million people of Kedah have confidence in me.

"It is not that I want to challenge anyone. But I only want the best for the party and the people of Kedah. Whatever I have been doing is to strengthen the party to face the 14th General Election.

"Nobody should make the assumption that I will be jumping over to another party.

"I will continue to work hard to ensure Kedah remains with Barisan Nasional in the next general election.

"We will win," he said.

Also at the gathering were state Youth and Sports, Culture and Arts and Moral Development Committee chairman Datuk Aminuddin Omar and state Umno Wanita chief Datuk Maznah Hamid.

The supporters cheered as he arrived, and signed a banner pledging their support.

A day earlier, several Kedah Umno division leaders had declared that they had no confidence in the leadership of Mukhriz as mentri besar and state Umno liaison committee chairman.

Mukhriz said the expression of no confidence might have resulted from his having been transparent in certain matters.

He said his intention to help might have caused unease, citing his opposition to Goods and Services Tax (GST).

"The pressure on the people is at a critical stage, so I had to question those who could provide answers as these were the questions the people were asking too.

"I've only suggested some propo­sals, such as to reduce the 6 per cent GST to 3 per cent. I said if that cannot be done then perhaps we could look into different approaches.

"In the end, it was seen as attacking the leadership," Mukhriz said in his speech.

Earlier in the day, Mukhriz went about his duties as mentri besar as usual.

Accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Norzieta Zakaria, he attended an investiture in conjunction with the 88th birthday of the Sultan of Kedah at Istana Anak Bukit here.

At the investiture, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan received his Datukship. He was among 160 people who received awards and medals from the Regency Council chairman Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah.

Mukhriz was not at the Northern Corridor Economic Region meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday, which was attended by Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azlan Man and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Kedah executive committee chairman of Industry and Investment Datuk Dr Ku Abd Rahman Ku Ismail represented Mukhriz.