ALOR SETAR: The new state exco line-up will be sworn in today but those in Kedah’s political circles do not expect anything new.
While many are waiting to see if any new faces will step forward at the palace to be sworn in, political insiders expect Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah to retain the exco line-up of his ousted predecessor Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
“Political stability in Kedah is his top priority now. He doesn’t want to rock the boat any further than necessary,” said a source.
On Ahmad Bashah’s ability to work with three previous exco members who had openly supported Mukhriz, the source said “he has to learn to live with them”.
The three are Datuk Norsabrina Mohd Noor, Datuk Aminuddin Omar and Datuk Suraya Yaacob.
Another source believed that retaining the previous exco line-up was the wish of the state Regency Council and Ahmad Bashah had little choice but to abide by their decision.
But he added that Ahmad Bashah was a tight-lipped leader.
“He’s a real Mr Nice Guy. Anyone can approach him and many are trying to influence him. But he listens quietly and won’t reveal what is in his mind.”
One insider said there was a possibility of a ‘shadow exco.’
Ahmad Bashah may have a band of Umno leaders who will help him run policies and woo the younger generation.
“Younger Kedahans love Mukhriz and are upset by the change of Menteri Besar. Ahmad Bashah will launch projects that will bring the younger generation close to Barisan Nasional again.”
If any change is to happen, the source believed that it would be the filling up of two exco posts left vacant since the last general election.
There are supposed to be 10 exco members in the state but two seats meant for Gerakan and MIC were left vacant since the parties did not win any state seats previously.
“To satisfy a few people, Ahmad Bashah may fill the two vacant posts but we don’t know for sure,” said the source.
Sources said Bukit Lada assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Lebai Sudin, Pantai Merdeka assemblyman Ali Yahaya and Bukit Kayu Hitam assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Zaini Japar were among those who voted against Mukhriz and had lobbied for an exco seat themselves.
However, Ali, who previously held an exco post under the administration of Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain in 1999, dismissed the rumour that his name was being lobbied for an exco post.
“I received only an invitation to attend the swearing-in ceremony,” he said.
Norsabrina, who is Bandar Baha-ru assemblyman, said she expected to be retained although she and the others had yet to receive any news.
“The instruction is that we are to sit at our usual seats and be prepared to take our oaths. We have no idea about the full list.
“However, I don’t think there will be any last-minute decision since the Mentri Besar has to present the finalised list to the Kedah Regency Council.
“If there’s any change, he will have to meet the council,” said Norsabrina.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Lebai said he was uncertain about attending the swearing-in ceremony since he was still overseas when contacted yesterday.