KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5, 2016:

Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah must quickly rebuild Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in Kedah in his role as the state’s Menteri Besar, following the resignation of Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Rahman, who heads the Council of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak), said the remaining two years before the 14th General Election should be used to strengthen the party to ensure that BN stayed in power in the state.

“Hence, the political situation in the state itself is an asset to BN because the 14th GE is not far off and it takes time to prepare, to close ranks.

“The change of guard has hurt the feelings of Mukhriz’s supporters who like his youthful style of leadership,” he told The Rakyat Post, stressing that it was time to close ranks.

He noted that two years was not a long time, but enough to bring the leadership and followers of BN closer together as the next general election approached.

He said the sooner the issue was resolved, the better it was as it would give hope to the people of Kedah.

Abdul Aziz added that leadership change was normal and had happened in other states such as Terengganu.

Meanwhile, secretary of Veteran Umno Malaysia, Datuk Mustapha Yaakub, said he expected Ahmad Bashah to unite a fractured Kedah Umno following the crisis.

“As an old-timer in politics himself, Ahmad Bashah should be able to lead Umno and BN to sail through GE14.

“We hope he will succeed in uniting the party,” he said.

At the same time, he praised Mukhriz as being big-hearted and someone who put the interest of the people and the party ahead of himself.

He said Mukhriz had helped to avert a crisis that could paralyse the state administration.

“We are certain that Mukhriz will have peace.”

He added that it was not the end for Mukhriz as long as he did not retaliate and knew how to play the political chess game well.

Mustapha also expressed hope that Mukhriz would take home a valuable lesson from what happened.

He added that with good cooperation among themselves, Kedah Umno and BN would surely retain Kedah in the next GE.

Mukhriz, at a press conference in Alor Star yesterday, announced his resignation as MB, as he was said to have lost the support of a majority of the state’s assemblymen.

Ahmad Bashah was shortly after that announced to be Mukhriz’s successor.

The Bakar Bata assemblyman was sworn in this morning at a ceremony held at Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Star.

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