KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25, 2016:

Embattled Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir is in the centre of the fight between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

This was the opinion of DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago, who told The Rakyat Post that the internal Umno crisis was because of the ongoing fight between the two Umno men.

He said the fact that 13 out of 15 assemblymen wanted Mukhriz out shows that the coup was well orchestrated.

“This is to tell Mahathir to lay off and if he keeps pushing, they will remove his son.

“It goes to show that Najib is pulling out all stops to secure his position within Umno and whoever that confronts him will be dealt with,” he further alleged.

Santiago opined that Dr Mahathir’s pressure on the Attorney-General’s Chambers had prompted the coup.

“Mahathir has been questioning the amount of time the Attorney-General was taking with the investigation papers, in which the papers were returned to MACC,” Santiago said, referring to the investigation into the political donation which had allegedly been transferred into Najib’s personal account.

“Mahathir was seen as still elbowing Najib, and that prompted this move.”

Comparing this to the Selangor MB crisis in which current MB Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali took over from Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Santiago said it differed in many ways.

“With Mukhriz, you can clearly see that the people are still with him, they have gone down to the streets to show their support. While in Selangor, the people were mad at Khalid for his Bank Islam deal.

“But there is similarity where there was a strong desire to get the existing MB out,” Santiago said.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, meanwhile, said the Kedah crisis clearly underlined Najib’s determination to crack the whip on Umno leaders that were not with him.

“As the Umno crisis stems from 1MDB, Mukhriz is just the latest victim of the scandal,” Kok alleged, referring to the issues plaguing the country’s sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

“However the crisis is definitely an opportunity for the Opposition,” she said briefly, reluctant to reveal further.

PKR Batu MP Tian Chua agreed with Santiago that the crisis was merely Najib retaliating against Mahathir.

“It’s just an internal issue of Umno, but the people end up being affected.

“It destabilises the government and the people’s livelihood is negatively affected,” he told The Rakyat Post.

The Kedah MB crisis began when a press conference led by the state’s deputy liaison chairman Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, declared that a majority of Umno leaders in the northern state had lost confidence in Mukhriz’s leadership.

This was followed by a meeting between Ahmad Bashah’s group and Najib at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

Najib at the time had asked that he be given some time to resolve the matter.

Yesterday, in Langkawi, Najib and Mukhriz both attended an AirAsia event in which both appeared to be all smiles as they welcomed the airline’s inaugural flight from Guangzhou to the island.

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