Asia

Umno leaders' meeting fuels talk of imminent Malaysian Cabinet reshuffle

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Talk of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle heated up in Malaysia on Thursday (Oct 29) evening, as a special Umno supreme council meeting was held for the second time this week.

Though no agenda was set for the meeting, it was learnt that the supreme council members would be trying to hammer out a deal with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, as anticipation brews over the tabling of next year’s budget next Friday (Nov 6).

Umno sources have indicated that issues pertaining to the eventuality of a speculated Cabinet reshuffle will be brought up by Umno supreme council leaders during the meeting.

The council is the party’s highest decision-making body, and consists of Umno’s president and top office bearers, as well as state party chiefs.

Speculation is rife that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government may reshuffle its Cabinet to placate grouses from Umno, where top leaders recently complained of being sidelined by Tan Sri Muhyiddin.

There were also murmurs regarding the appointment of a deputy prime minister from Umno. Mr Muhyiddin’s Cabinet has four senior ministers, but no deputy prime minister.

A party source said three names – Umno vice-president and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan – are in the running as Umno’s choice for deputy prime minister.

It was understood that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is no longer being considered as a candidate for deputy prime minister, as he has ongoing court cases.

“The focus will not only be on the deputy prime minister position, but the Cabinet reshuffle as a whole, if it happens,” said the source.

More on this topic

Although Datuk Seri Mohamad is not an MP, he can still be appointed as deputy prime minister as the post is not provided for in the Federal Constitution, the source added.

“The Constitution is silent on the deputy prime minister. That is why it is open to interpretation,” said the source. “The Constitution states that the prime minister shall be the person who has the majority support in Parliament. It is clear on that.”

The council meeting followed a late-night pow-wow on Monday where Umno pledged its continued support of the eight-month-old Muhyiddin administration.

Umno had been seeking better terms to continue its support of the 13-party PN coalition.

Umno is the largest PN party with 39 MPs, followed by 31 federal lawmakers from Mr Muhyiddin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

The latest political turmoil in Malaysia comes after the rejection last Sunday by Malaysia’s King of a declaration of emergency sought by Mr Muhyiddin.

Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah has advised lawmakers to stop politicking to avoid destabilising the nation, as it fights to counter the surge in coronavarus cases.

More on this topic

Sign up for the ST Asian Insider newsletter to get exclusive insights into Asia from our network of overseas correspondents.

Source: Read Full Article