KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob denied today that he will implement a Cabinet reshuffle in order to strengthen his position in leading the administration.

He also said he will meet with Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin first after the latter resigned as plantation industries and commodities minister after defecting from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, a portfolio that has since been fought over by the party and ally Umno.

"She said that she will discuss with me once we meet and I will decide once the discussion has concluded,” he told reporters during the Barisan Nasional 48th Convention at World Trade Centre here.

Yesterday, news portal Malaysia Now reported Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu as denying any move to propel the party’s secretary general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin into the position of deputy prime minister.

He also said that Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will have a meeting with Ismail Sabri to propose a new candidate to replace Zuraida.

Previously, sources told Malay Mail that Zuraida resigned from her position as minister because she had been excluded from Cabinet’s “new line-up”.

The report also mentioned that Hamzah, who is the home minister, would be Ismail Sabri’s number two after the reshuffle to strengthen the latter’s position as the head of the government and finish his term as the prime minister.

Last week, Zuraida announced her departure from Bersatu to join her former PKR counterpart Larry Sng who is currently the president of Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM).

The Ampang MP became a member of the Bersatu supreme council after leaving PKR in February 2020, leading to the fall of the then ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that won the 2018 general election.

Zuraida has long been a member of PKR as well as its vice -president before joining several other PH members in the ‘Sheraton Move’ which saw Muhyiddin form the Perikatan Nasional coalition with Islamist party PAS to seize federal power.

After Muhyiddin resigned as prime minister, Zuraida was once again appointed as a Cabinet member under the current leadership of Ismail Sabri who is from Umno.