Hishammuddin says never worked towards being Malaysia’s deputy prime minister

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein waves at the press as he arrives at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya October 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein waves at the press as he arrives at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya October 23, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Umno’s Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today denied having ever worked towards being appointed as Malaysia’s deputy prime minister.

Hishammuddin, who is both foreign minister and newly-appointed Barisan Nasional (BN) treasurer-general, today sought to address speculation naming him as being a possible candidate for the post of deputy prime minister.

“Referring to Sin Chew Daily’s article that linked me as one of the candidates as deputy prime minister which invited various questions and reactions — I wish to state that I never carried out efforts towards that direction.

“I thank the party for supporting me to represent Umno as minister in the government of the day,” Hishammuddin said in a brief Facebook post today.

Hishammuddin, who is also a former Umno vice-president and the incumbent Sembrong MP, went on to assert that the current focus of his party is not on positions.

“I believe the most important matter that is the focus of the government and Umno now is the Parliament meeting, Budget 2021 and management of the Covid-19 crisis, not the issue of positions,” he said, adding that this would be in line with recent statements by both the Umno president and Umno supreme council to heed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call for all to quit politicking and unite to fight Covid-19.

“Whatever stance and decision is for the party’s interest - in the past, now and forever,” he concluded.

Under Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Cabinet does not have the usual post of deputy prime minister.

In terms of ranking, the most senior ministers after Muhyiddin are Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

Umno was perceived and speculated in recent days to be jostling and lobbying for a better deal from Muhyiddin in terms of government positions, with the party initially saying on October 13 it would reconsider its support for the Perikatan Nasional government and present new conditions, before eventually saying on October 26 that it would continue supporting the PN government but with an urging for enhanced cooperation based on “respect and political consensus”.

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