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Terengganu May Have Snap Elections

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KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu is being pushed to the brink again and this Monday’s state assembly sitting could decide whether the state may have to resort to a snap election.

The latest crisis has come about following a flare-up of tensions between Mentri Besar Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman and his antagonistic predecessor Datuk Seri Ahmad Said over the last few days.

The situation became “dangerous and fragile” when Ahmad was joined by Ajil assemblyman Ghazali Taib in an apparent rebellion.

The departure of the two from the Umno fold would result in a hung state assembly and Ahmad Razif is said to be mentally prepared for the possibility of dissolving the state assembly.

Ahmad went on a verbal rampage last Saturday, targeting Ahmad Razif and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Ahmad, who is Kijal assemblyman, gave a long and angry speech at an Umno function in Kemaman during which he dared the party to sack him, saying “they will see what I can do”.

His latest outburst is believed to be in reaction to Ahmad Razif’s request to the Umno supreme council to sack the former mentri besar.

Ahmad Razif, when met by reporters at a Hari Raya event yesterday, confirmed that Terengganu Umno had sent a report on Ahmad’s alleged wrongdoing to the supreme council as well as the Umno disciplinary board.

“The party has taken action against Umno deputy president and vice-president. I leave it to the party leadership to take disciplinary action based on our report. There should be no double standards,” Ahmad Razif said.

It is also learnt the Menrti Besar had also asked the supreme council to consider a snap state election to resolve the crisis once and for all.

“The MB is resigned to the situation. If there is to be an election, he is ready and confident that Barisan will do better,” said a Terengganu Umno official.

This is not the first time Ahmad has tried to unseat his successor but this time, he seems to have Ghazali’s support.

Ghazali – who is state Communi-cations and Multimedia, and Special Tasks Committee chairman – called a press conference yesterday to defend Ahmad and said there was no need to sack any assemblyman in Terengganu. He also criticised the state government and reminded Barisan that it was holding onto power with a two-seat majority.

Of the 32 state seats, Umno currently holds 17, PAS 14 and PKR one. There will be a hung assembly if Ahmad and Ghazali decide to declare themselves as independents.

“Politics in Terengganu is full of revenge and we are plunged into a crisis again. Everyone is nervous, it is hard to predict what will happen in the next few days,” said Terengganu political expert Dr Azmi Omar.

At the last state assembly sitting, Ahmad tried but failed to table a no-confidence motion against the Mentri Besar.

Ahmad lost the confidence of the Umno leadership after Terengganu almost fell in the 2013 general election. When the Prime Minister replaced him in May 2014, Ahmad and two other assemblymen resigned from Umno and almost brought down the Barisan government.

But the trio, who included Ghazali and Bukit Besi assemblyman Roslee Daud, were persuaded to retract their resignations.

Ahmad Razif also suffered a setback a while ago when the Palace revoked his Datuk Seri title for reasons which remain unknown.

The Mentri Besar’s advantage is that PAS is not interested in taking in Ahmad or any of his friends. PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang has publicly said that PAS wants to come to power in Terengganu through an election and not via the side door.

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