KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4, 2016:
Newly appointed Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah has only two years to prove his ability to run the state.
Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia said the successor to Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir faced an uphill battle in appeasing Umno members as well as the people of Kedah.
“He is burdened with a heavy task, and the two most important things he needs to do is to unite a fractured Umno in Kedah.
“He cannot consolidate Kedah alone as he needs other leaders to help win the hearts of voters in the next election.
“The second is to restore people’s trust in Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) because there are many who have become disappointed with Mukhriz being replaced.
“The easiest way for him to solve this is to show his performance in two years, through administrative and economic development, employment generation as well as stabilising relationship with the grassroots.
“If he accomplishes all of that, I think people will go back and give their strong support to him.
“But at this point in time, he will have to work hard because he has only two years to do it,” Azizuddin said when contacted by The Rakyat Post today, referring to the next general election, which could be held two years from now.
Azizuddin said Ahmad Bashah stood out as the most suitable candidate due to his loyalty to the party and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Bakar Batu assemblyman was seen as loyal to Umno despite having to give up his liaison committee chairman’s post to Mukhriz in the last election.
Azizuddin said Ahmad Bashah remained with Umno despite the sacrifice and worked hard to wrest the state from the Opposition in the 2013 General Election.
“He is the most senior member in Umno as the Kedah Umno liaison deputy chairman, he is also very close to (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib and so it makes him the most likely qualified person to become Menteri Besar.
“In terms of education, there are many who would question the choice, and it is a fact that Umno needs to consider. But in general, nobody can question his experience as he has long been in Umno.
“His loyalty to Umno and Najib cannot be disputed and that loyalty qualifies him to become the new Kedah MB,” Azizuddin added.
Another observer from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Mohd Zulkifli Mohd Amirul Akhbar said Ahmad Bashah and other assemblymen must work hard to implement the manifesto that was announced in the previous election.
This, he said, was because the fiasco that led to Mukhriz’s removal was said to be due to his failure in governing the state.
“They need to ensure that aspects that were said to be inefficient are improved. They have to fix the problems because people are evaluating them.
“It is important to get feedback from the people, on what needs to be done, and most importantly, to allow the people to communicate directly with the leaders.
“Leaders must head down to the ground to ensure that the party and the state government machinery are functioning properly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zulkifli also praised Mukhriz’s ‘gentleman’ approach in relinquishing his Menteri Besar’s position.
“He has admitted that he had lost confidence and it takes a gentleman to step down from the post, but remain as assemblyman elected by the people of his constituency.
“And that is a responsibility to be shouldered by Mukhriz until the next general election,” said the lecturer from the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies.
Zulkifli also echoed Azizuddin’s opinion that the delivery of the manifesto was the best way for Ahmad Bashah to restore the people’s support for Umno and BN in the coming general election.
He also opined that the people were more ‘discerning’ following the move to oust Mukhriz.
“The new Menteri Besar must fulfil the pledges made in the manifesto concerned because they would be scrutinised by the people if they were not implemented.
“So Ahmad Bashah must show that Umno’s tension in Kedah does not affect the plans (involved) and that they will be able to deliver on all the promises to the people.
“If the people of the area are taken care of, and planning is organised, they will be able to see all of it. The people now are not the type to follow blindly, but are better at evaluating,” he added.
Ahmad Bashah was sworn in this morning as the 12th Kedah Menteri Besar at Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar.