Zahid: Kedah may need fresh polls if no decision on speaker

Acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says Kedah Umno’s stand must be respected.

ALOR SETAR: Umno is leaving it to its state leaders to resolve the stalemate over the election of the speaker of the Kedah legislative assembly which has an equal number of Pakatan Harapan (PH) and opposition seats.

Acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the party was willing to discuss the matter but the Kedah Umno stand on the matter must be respected by all.

“I have held discussions with Kedah Umno chairman Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah and two state assemblymen and we will come to a good decision in the common interest,” he said after attending Kedah Umno’s Hari Raya open house today.

Zahid said Umno did not dismiss the possibility of fresh state elections in Kedah if the stalemate over the speaker’s appointment remained unresolved.

PH, which has formed the government in Kedah, has 18 seats in the assembly, Barisan Nasional (BN) has 15 and PAS has three.

Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir was reported to have said he would have discussions with Umno and PAS to resolve the issue before the state assembly convenes early next month.

He said today, however, that the PH state government could not accept a PAS-proposed candidate for speaker because the individual was not an assemblyman and that would leave the opposition with 19 seats to PH’s 18 in the assembly.