KUALA LUMPUR: Talk of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle heats up as a special Umno supreme council meeting is being held on Thursday (Oct 29) night at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
Though no agenda was set for the meeting, it was learned that the supreme council members would be trying to hammer out a deal with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as anticipation brews over the tabling of Budget 2021 next Friday (Nov 6).
Several top Umno leaders begin arriving as early as 7.45pm such as Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and Tan Sri Noh Omar.
Party sources have indicated that issues pertaining to the eventuality of a speculated Cabinet reshuffle will be brought up by the Umno supreme council leaders during the meeting.
Speculation is rife that the Perikatan Nasional government may reshuffle its Cabinet to placate grouses from Umno, where top leaders had recently complained of being sidelined by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,
There are also murmurs regarding the appointment of a deputy prime minister from Umno, as there isn’t one in Muhyiddin’s Cabinet at the moment.
A party source said three names - Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan - are in the running as Umno’s choice for deputy prime minister.
It was understood that Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is no longer being considered as candidate for deputy prime minister, given the Bagan Datuk MP’s ongoing court cases.
“The focus will not only be on the deputy prime minister position, but the Cabinet reshuffle as a whole, if it happens,” said the source.
Although Mohamad isn’t an MP, he can still be appointed as a deputy prime minister, as it is not provided for in the Federal Constitution, the source added.
“The Constitution is silent on the deputy prime minister. That is why it is open to interpretation.
“Unlike the prime minister, the Constitution states that the prime minister shall be the person who has the majority support in Parliament. It is clear on that.”
The meeting was held following the supreme council meeting on Oct 26 where Umno pledged it's continued support of Muhyiddin's administration which has been under pressure on several fronts.
This is Umno’s second supreme council meeting held in merely a week.
The developments come in the backdrop of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah's recent proclamations for lawmakers to stop politicking to avoid destabilising the nation.
The King has also called on lawmakers to focus effort on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and Budget 2021 which is to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat on Nov 6.
Talk of a Cabinet reshuffle had surfaced in recent days following Umno's pledge of continued support of Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional.
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