PETALING JAYA - Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir may survive the current political onslaught despite his detractors having the "numbers" to topple him.
Legal analyst Prof Salleh Buang said in view of the series of rallies by the grassroots against attempts to topple Mukhriz, those out to oust him should not use controversial means to achieve their goal.
"If the group really have the support of the majority assemblymen as they claim, they should table a motion of no confidence at the state assembly.
"They should do it in a transparent manner in line with the state constitution and democratic practices, to appease the agitated rakyat.
"Why resort to asking assemblymen to sign statutory declarations behind closed doors?" he asked.
Prof Salleh was commenting on reports that the group who is staging a mutiny against Mukhriz led by Kedah Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanifah has obtained signatures from 19 assemblymen to support their move to oust the mentri besar.
Kedah has 36 state seats, and need only 19 assemblymen to pass a vote of no confidence against a sitting mentri besar.
Ahmad Bashah and a group of disgruntled Umno division chiefs had on Jan 20 declared that they had lost confidence in Mukhriz's leadership.
Prof Salleh said the interest of the state and the people of Kedah should be above politics.
"We can see on the ground that the rakyat are upset over the move to unseat Mukhriz. The Generation Y crowd are angry," he said.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia geopolitical lecturer Prof Fuad Mat Jali said those who wanted Mukhriz out should use the right procedure.
"They should first table a motion of no confidence at the state assembly, and then bring it to the Regency Council.
"They must resolve this issue in an open and democratic manner," he said.
Kedah police chief Datuk Zamri Yahya has called for an immediate stop to rumours claiming that the Kedah palace had refused the request by politicians to seek an audience.
He said this in response to a message circulating on WhatsApp claiming that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and the Kedah Council of Regency chairman Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah had refused to accept requests by politicians to seek an audience with them.
Zamri also said that despite the series of rallies by Mukhriz's supporters in several locations, the situation was under control as the supporters were able to contain their emotion.
Mukhriz is expected to participate in "Save Kedah" prayers at Kampung Sanglang Mosque in Ayer Hitam, at 7pm tonight.
In a related development, former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had offered Mukhriz a federal post before the Cabinet reshuffle last year.
"But sadly, Mukhriz had rejected the offer," said Rahim who claimed that he and former Najib political secretary Datuk Fatmi Che Salleh had acted as mediators between the prime minister and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Mukhriz's father.
"Dr Mahathir had questioned why the need to change, and I told him that Najib was convinced that Mukhriz's position was in jeopardy as many state Umno leaders reject him," he said.
Rahim said it was unfortunate that Mukhriz had turned down the offer.