PM brushes off deputy talk

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 06 Nov 2003

PUTRAJAYA: Amid speculation on who will be the next deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi brushed off the talk, saying he is not ready to make any announcement yet. 

The Prime Minister, who took office six days ago, said he would make an announcement at the appropriate time. 

“Of course, I will appoint a deputy prime minister. I need a deputy. I will choose someone who can help me and provide good leadership because I will have a lot of work as OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) and NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) chairman besides travelling all over to attend meetings. 

“The present time calls for the prime minister to manage foreign relations.  

“Since the last several years, heads of government and states have been managing foreign relations like never before,” he said after chairing his first Cabinet meeting here yesterday. 

THE A-TEAM:Abdullah sharing a light moment with his Cabinet members during a photo shoot before adjourning to chair his firstCabinet meeting as Prime Minister yesterday.

Abdullah said he told the Cabinet that he would not be making any reshuffle for the time being. Abdullah currently holds Home and Finance portfolios. 

“I informed His Majesty (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) the day I was sworn in that all ministers will stay put in their present portfolios and I will inform (the King) when changes are made later on,” he added. 

He would go to the Finance Ministry on Tuesday to have a better understanding of some of the issues related to finance. 

Asked whether it was too much of a burden to hold many portfolios, Abdullah said he was assisted by a second minister, two deputy ministers and a parliamentary secretary at the Finance Ministry.  

“The Home Ministry has two deputy ministers and one parliamentary secretary. And I think they are the people who can be made to work hard.” 

On the possibility of the general election being held this year, Abdullah replied: “At the moment I am not certain yet. Anyway, we will never know.”  

Asked on DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock’s statement on working together with the Government, Abdullah was confident there were areas that both parties could co-operate 

“There are certain things which we should not politicise to the extent it effects good relations among people. 

“On issues of foreign policies, these are areas we can work together, like Palestine and Iraq. 

“That means we are not going to quarrel about everything,” he added. 

Abdullah said he welcomed Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s statement that the republic was willing to work together with him. 

“Chok Tong called me yesterday to congratulate. I don’t have problems with anyone who wants to be nice and wants to have good relations,” he added 

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