KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today commended the Kedah chapter of Umno for safeguarding the party’s unity, after it led the ouster of Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir as mentri besar.
Najib said that it was imperative to maintain discipline within the party and his administration during the currently challenging climate.
The Umno president also added that the son of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was forced to step down after his ability to lead the party towards retaining Kedah in the next election came into question.
“The prime minister believes that the party and government must be disciplined and work together as a united team to combat the economic and security challenges Malaysia currently faces, and to deliver on the promises made at the last general election when Barisan Nasional was given a mandate by the people.
“Kedah Umno have demonstrated their support for these principles of party unity and discipline,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement today.
Mukhriz announced his resignation this morning after he was informed by the Kedah Regency Council that he had lost majority support in the state assembly.
Kedah Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanifah will be appointed as the new mentri besar.
Ahmad Bashah was the man who led the delegation of 14 Umno division chiefs, state and federal lawmakers to call for Mukhriz’s removal last month.
Among the reasons given for their discontent was Mukhriz’s purported failure to govern the state, to unite the party and his lack of strategy
The Kedah Regency Council met with all the Barisan Nasional assemblymen in the state, including Mukhriz, and the 15 opposition assemblymen on Monday and yesterday.
Umno leaders today denied that Mukhriz was removed due to Dr Mahathir’s criticism of the Umno leadership.