Dr M supports Azmin as MB

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday expressed support for newly-appointed Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) Mohamed Azmin Ali, saying he hopes there would not be a vote of no confidence taken against Azmin once the state assembly convenes in November. “I hope when the state assembly sits, the majority will support Azmin. If they don’t, there will be a vote of no confidence and then Selangor will have to find a new MB,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying in media reports.

He also defended Mohamed Azmin’s decision to reduce the number of PAS executive councillors from four to three.

“That is the MB’s right, whether he wants to increase or decrease. He can do whatever he feels is appropriate. It is not necessary for him to keep four excos just because the previous administration did so,” Dr Mahathir said.

Speculation is rife that Mohamed Azmin could face a vote of no confidence in November as he was not his party’s choice as MB. Both PKR and DAP had proposed Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the sole candidate, as she had already commanded the confidence of the majority of the assembly. But the two parties finally resigned themselves to Mohamed Azmin’s appointment several hours after the palace confirmed last Monday that the Selangor Sultan, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, had appointed the PKR deputy president as MB.

PKR said in a statement the palace’s appointment of Mohamed Azmin had tainted the constitutional monarch system and was not in line with the state constitution and principles of parliamentary democracy.

Mohamed Azmin took his oath as the new MB before the Selangor Sultan last Tuesday at the Istana Alam Shah in Klang.

Last Friday, the Sultan defended his role in intervening to appoint a different MB, saying his duty as the state ruler was not merely ceremonial. In his speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the new executive council members last Friday, the Sultan blamed Pakatan Rakyat for starting the MB impasse, and expressed unhappiness over the attempts to oust Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia said yesterday that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his wife and their supporters were unhappy with Mohamed Azmin’s appointment, but afraid to risk the new MB’s displeasure as he is now the most powerful and influential leader in PKR. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 29, 2014.