KUALA LUMPUR: The country's number two appears to be keeping his cards close to his chest as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak comes under increasing pressure to take a leave of absence pending investigations into claims that billions of Ringgit were channelled into his personal bank accounts.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who had been expected to make a strong statement on the allegations against Najib, preferred not to say anything instead at a buka puasa gathering with the media at the Utusan Melayu headquarters here Tuesday.
"I know many members of the media will be disappointed to hear this, but there will be no speech or press conference by the Deputy Prime Minister tonight," said the emcee upon Muhyiddin's arrival.
No business, strictly leisure. That was the message sent out by the Umno deputy president as he took the time to mingle and take pictures with members of the media prior to the breaking of fast.
Muhyiddin, who was accompanied by his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, arrived at the venue at around 6.45pm clad in a purple baju melayu to match his wife's baju kurung.
He appeared to be in good spirits and led those in attendance for Maghrib prayers, before breaking bread with chief editors from the media.
Calls for Najib to go on leave and for Muhyiddin to take over temporarily have been gaining traction following the Wall Street Journal's report alleging that US$700mil (RM2.6bil) were deposited into Najib's personal bank accounts.
In a previous statement, Muhyiddin urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations made against Najib.
"This is a very serious allegation that can jeopardise his credibility and integrity as the Prime Minister and the leader of the Government," he had said.
However, he refrained from echoing the call for Najib to go on leave until the investigation was concluded.
Najib on Monday insisted that he had not betrayed the people and urged them to remain calm as the truth would prevail.