Mukhriz’s second exit from Kedah imminent as PAS, Umno wait on sidelines

Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir is said to have lost support from PPBM and PKR assemblymen.

GEORGE TOWN: Mukhriz Mahathir may be on his way out as the Kedah menteri besar, the second time he would lose the top post since 2016 at the height of his father’s fallout with then-prime minister Najib Razak.

There has been speculation of him losing support from PPBM assemblymen in the state, after most party leaders chose to side with their president Muhyiddin Yassin to form a new coalition with Umno and PAS.

Kedah PAS chief Ahmad Yahaya said Mukhriz’s fall from power was inevitable, and expressed confidence that the Islamist party would return to power in the state, seven years after its last rule.

PAS has 15 seats in the 36-member assembly, while Umno has two.

There are 19 assemblymen who stood on a Pakatan Harapan ticket in the 2018 election: seven from PKR, six from PPBM, four from Amanah and two from DAP.

“Mukhriz is in a very weak position because out of the six PPBM assemblymen, not even half of them support him,” Ahmad said in a statement today.

He said PPBM assemblymen were also unhappy with Mukhriz’s decision not to be allies with the Perikatan Nasional coalition led by Muhyiddin.

Ahmad also said several PKR assemblymen in Kedah would defect from PH.

Since the fall of the PH government, Johor, Melaka and Perak have seen a political realignment to reflect the PN coalition at the federal level.

Kedah opposition leader, Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor of PAS, said there were two factors leading to Mukhriz’s weak position in the state.

He said one was the increasing discontent from the PKR grassroots after the purge of those aligned with sacked deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.

“The other is the PPBM assemblymen themselves. I hear four PPBM reps have decided to declare loyalty to their president,” Sanusi told FMT.

“Not being part of the ruling federal government will be a big loss to Kedahans, as PPBM has chosen to be part of an opposition state. By realigning with the federal power, the people of Kedah will be thankful,” he added.

But Kedah PKR chief Johari Abdul, who is aligned with Anwar Ibrahim, said the crisis was being made up in time for the PPBM elections next month.

Mukhriz is challenging Muhyiddin for the PPBM presidency.

“As far as PKR is concerned, we have been supportive of Mukhriz all along. But it’s now up to PPBM to decide,” Johari, the Sungai Petani MP, told FMT.

FMT has contacted Mukhriz for a response.

Mukhriz was menteri besar from 2013 to 2016, when he was expelled from Umno together with Muhyiddin for questioning Najib’s handling of the 1MDB scandal. He regained the post following PH’s victory in 2018.

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