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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said one of his party’s leaders should be made the deputy prime minister as recognition of its influence in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition government.
In the clearest indication yet of the “improved terms” that the party expected in return for its continued support to PN, Tajuddin said it seemed that others were being given precedence over Umno leaders, citing former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali as an example.
“We contributed the highest number of seats in Parliament so maybe the deputy prime minister post should be given to us,” Tajuddin was quoted as saying by The Star today.
Azmin is one of the four “senior ministers” Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appointed instead of a traditional deputy and the one whom the latter indicated was first among equals.
Tajuddin, a former deputy minister, said it was only right that Umno be given the DPM role as it was the party with the most seats in the coalition.
Tajuddin also complained that members of Azmin’s faction who left PKR for Muhyiddin’s Bersatu have all been given more important portfolios than those entrusted to Umno leaders.
“Even PAS, which is a smaller party compared to Umno, was given important positions. This is causing dissatisfaction among Umno members.
“Umno was given portfolios related to science, innovation and unity where we cannot do much. We should have been given portfolios related to economics, commerce and agriculture instead,” he was quoted further in the same report.
However, he rejected the notion that Umno would work with the rival DAP party in order to form a new government.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asserted to the Yang diPertuan Agong on Tuesday that he has secured the support of 120 MPs to take over the government, which presumably included some from Umno.
Today, Tajuddin said his party would consider such an alliance only if DAP were to be left out.
“Without DAP, we are willing to talk,” the Prasarana Malaysia chairman said after a compliance check at the Masjid Jamek LRT station here.
Umno is not a member of PN but offers support on matters of supply and confidence to the coalition government and several of its leaders are also members of Muhyiddin’s Cabinet.
After Anwar’s royal audience on Tuesday, Umno released a statement saying it would reconsider its support for PN unless the party received improved terms without specifying.
This morning, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah told Malaysia’s warring politicians to abide by the Federal Constitution to settle their disputes.
The Agong told Malaysia’s political leaders to be reasonable in order to avoid plunging the country into a political crisis at the time when there was already uncertainty and disease in the country.