ALOR STAR: Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, leader of an anti-Mukhriz Mahathir faction in Kedah Umno, wants a speedy resolution to the leadership issue, calling for immediate action by Umno president Najib Razak.
On Wednesday Ahmad Bashah announced that 14 Kedah Umno divisions had lost confidence in Mukhriz as menteri besar.
He said today that it was up to Najib to take immediate action, and that the crisis could not be allowed to drag on because Umno and the Barisan Nasional needed to prepare for the next general election.
Ahmad, who is deputy chairman of Kedah Umno, said his group was prepared to accept any decision by Najib.
“It is up to the party president, we will support whoever becomes the menteri besar. We have confidence in his wisdom,” he said when met by reporters at Sultan Abdul Halim Airport here today, Bernama reported.
This morning, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia said a new menteri besar could be appointed by the end of January, and named Ahmad Bashar as most likely to replace Mukhriz.
The move against Mukhriz has been viewed as part of a proxy battle between Najib and Mukhriz’s father, former premier Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir has campaigned for a year to oust Najib as Umno president and prime minister.
Yesterday, he called up Kedah Umno leaders, state assemblymen and MPs to a meeting with him in Kuala Lumpur to discuss Wednesday’s statement.
Mukhriz has said that he would remain as menteri besar so long as his services were needed by the people of Kedah.
Bernama reported that Ahmad Bashah said no names were mentioned at yesterday’s meeting to replace Mukhriz as new menteri besar.
He said the meeting was conducted calmly in a family spirit but all of them were serious in wanting a change for the good of the state Umno.
“We feel the time has come for a change, as we are no longer confident in facing the election, more so the decision was voiced by 14 of 15 division heads,” he was quoted as saying.