ALOR SETAR: Mukhriz Mahathir was Kedah menteri besar for all of two and a half years before he was forced to step down from the position in early 2016.
His short-lived tenure, he said, did not give him enough time to implement the things he wanted to do, such as addressing water issues and carrying out an industrialisation programme.
The PPBM deputy president said he was raising these issues again as the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had failed to address them.
“Even when I was part of the BN government, I was not given enough time to do it. As you know, planning and implementation takes time.
“Unfortunately, the plans we had set forth were not implemented by the new MB (Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah). He was sleeping on the job,” he told reporters here last night.
Mukhriz, who is also Kedah PH chairman, said they intended to take over and restart that planning.
“It was already a good plan. We had good strategies. It came from the best minds of Kedah, to think about what is best for the future of Kedah.
“I am very certain that what we have to offer from the candidates here will be realised if PH is given the mandate in the 14th general election,” he said.
Mukhriz won the Ayer Hitam state seat in the 13th general election on a BN ticket and was subsequently appointed as menteri besar.
However, in January 2016, most of the Umno division leaders came together to declare that they had lost confidence in Mukhriz’s leadership, plunging the state into a leadership crisis which lasted three weeks.
It came to an end when Mukhriz announced that he would relinquish his chief executive position. Bashah, who was then Bakar Bata state assemblyman, was later sworn in as menteri besar.
Mukhriz went on to join PPBM, chaired by his father Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
On the issue of Kedah’s high debt, Mukhriz said the state owed among the highest debts to the federal government, a legacy he had inherited as menteri besar.
During his tenure as menteri besar, Mukhriz said, the state owed about RM2.6 billion to the federal government, and he subsequently undertook to slowly service the debts after being criticised by the finance ministry for failing to do so.
“Back then, we tried to pay, even if it was a little, so that there would be turnover to the federal government. Apart from that, we also took the approach of negotiating with the ministry to try and reduce these debts.
“There were amounts that we tried negotiating with the federal government to get them written off. We can continue such negotiations, provided that both state and federal governments are from the same side, which is PH,” he added.
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