Updated 10:39pm, 9 April 2009
Corrected on 10 April 2009 at 12.00noon
KUALA LUMPUR, 9 April 2009: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes his son Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir will be able to do good work at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).
“He should be able to settle down and do a good work. I hope he will tackle the problem of giving out Approved Permits (APs) to people who are selling the APs,” he told a press conference here today.
Today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak named Mukhriz, who is Jerlun Member of Parliament, as the Deputy Minister of MITI.
Asked about his son’s appointment, Mahathir said: “I am happy. Even if he was not appointed, it should have been alright.”
Mukhriz, who is the third son of Mahathir, has a degree in business administration from (corrected) Sophia University, Tokyo. Following his graduation, he had worked with the Bank of Tokyo in 1982.
Asked whether the appointment of Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah as the Second Finance Minister would help Najib tackle the economic slowdown, Mahathir said: “I don’t know how to assess Husni but I know Nor Mohamed Yakcop has the capability in the field and I think he certainly will be able to give his view.”
The former deputy minister of finance, Ahmad Husni succeeds Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who has been moved to the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the Economic Planning Unit.
Meanwhile, Tun Dr Sit Hasmah Mohamad Ali expressed her happiness at her son’s Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s appointment as deputy minister for International Trade and Industry
Siti Hasmah said prayed he would work hard and carry out his responsibilities to the best of his ability, and hoped that he would do “what is best for the country in line with the nation’s aspirations”.
“Syukur Alhamdulillah. I’m happy for him and I thank God that he’s been given the chance to prove himself in serving the religion, people and nation,” she told reporters, here, today.
Siti Hasmah said she and her husband (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) did not expect their son to be made a deputy minister as he was still young, while Mukhriz himself did not expect this and went holidaying with his family in Japan.
“He just SMSed me to say that he had arrived at Tokyo Disneyland because the children wanted to listen to Donald Duck speaking Japanese and now he has to come back, I guess,” she said.
Asked when Mukhriz and his family would return, Siti Hasmah said: “Wallahu Aqlam (only God knows). But looks like he has to get a flight back home.
“Whatever it is, as a mother, I am grateful and pray that he will fulfil the people’s hopes, the ministry’s hopes and the new prime minister’s,” she said.
Mukhriz, 44, had studied at the Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Kota Baru before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration from (corrected) Sophia University, Tokyo, in 1982.
He also has a degree in international marketing from Boston University, US. He began his career with the Bank of Tokyo after completing his studies in 1983, and then became the chairperson and managing director of Opcom Holdings Bhd, a telecommunications company which he established in November 1994.
His political career began in 2004 when he became a member of the Kubang Pasu Umno branch. His father had also been the member of parliament for Kubang Pasu.
In September 2004, Mukhriz was elected an Umno Youth executive committee member after garnering the most number of votes at 649, after which he was appointed the movement’s International and NGO Relations Bureau chair.
He has also been active as the coordinator for Aman Malaysia, taking part in several humanitarian missions to provide aid to the tsunami victims in Acheh in 2004, the Kashmir earthquake victims in Pakistan (2005), Jogjakarta earthquake victims (2006), and the victims of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon (2006) and Israel’s aggression on Gaza, Palestine (2008).
In the last general election on 8 March 2008, Mukhriz defeated Idris Ahmad from PAS with a 2,205-vote majority, making him the MP for Jerlun, Kedah.
He however lost in his bid to become Umno Youth chief in the recent polls. — Bernama