POLITICS: Sources dismiss talk of Hisham being appointed DPM

Talk that Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will be appointed deputy prime minister is possibly an unsubstantiated rumour.

Several news organisations have speculated that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin would appoint the Foreign Minister as his deputy.

However, sources in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Umno have dismissed the speculation as an unsubstantiated rumour. But, other sources said there was a possibility that it might happen.

“The rumour that Hisham will be made DPM is not true, ” a Bersatu politician said in a WhatsApp message.

A pro-Bersatu Umno insider said the rumour was part of a Spy vs Spy (a comic strip featuring two spies involved in espionage activities) game to spook the Prime Minister into appointing an anti-Bersatu Umno MP as deputy prime minister.

Hishammuddin, a former Umno vice-president who is not an Umno supreme council member now, is seen as a pro-Bersatu politician.

The anti-Bersatu faction in Umno, according to the Umno insider, preferred Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or Senior Minister (Security) and Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as deputy prime minister.

“Will Zahid agree to Hishammuddin being made DPM?” he said.

If Hishammuddin was made deputy prime minister, the pro-Bersatu Umno insider said it would further drive a wedge between the anti-Bersatu faction in Umno and the Prime Minister.

However, an anti-Bersatu Umno leader said if Hishammuddin was appointed to the number two post, it would drive a wedge internally in his party.

“Hisham would have a powerful position which he can use to sway Umno leaders and grassroots not to support the motion to cut ties with Bersatu in the party general assembly on Jan 31, ” he said.

Politicking heated up on Saturday when Machang MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub announced he was withdrawing his support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin.

Ahmad Jazlan is seen as being with the anti-Bersatu faction in Umno.

His action had left the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government with 110 MPs while the fractured Opposition has 108 MPs.

There are two Umno MPs - Ahmad Jazlan and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah - who do not support the PN government but are not with the Opposition.

The Umno leaders who are anti-Bersatu such as Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz have hinted that Ahmad Jazlan has triggered a domino effect. More Umno MPs, they claimed, might announce their withdrawal of support for the Perikatan government in the next few days.

The weekend was filled with talk on the Prime Minister’s health and that Muhyiddin would appoint Hishammuddin to the post that for the first time in Malaysian history is vacant.

Muhyiddin, according to the Bersatu source, was not concerned about the weekend rumour. Utmost on his mind is the alarming Covid-19 situation in the country where the positive numbers are in the four digits daily.

The Prime Minister is more likely to make a big announcement on a possible targeted movement control order than a new DPM.

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