Cabinet reshuffle and deputy PM appointment on the cards?

PETALING JAYA: After almost five months at the helm of the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) government, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is expected to reshuffle Cabinet and appoint a deputy in the coming week.

Utusan Malaysia, quoting a source, reported that a majority of the ministers and deputy ministers were aware of this.

The source, however, stated that the reshuffle was still in the discussion phase to decide who would stay, who would be replaced or even dropped.

“Next week, although we are unsure of what day it will take place, it will likely be Wednesday after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“Based on (his) schedule, the Prime Minister has met with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin this morning to further discuss this matter, specifically involving the positions of ministers and their deputies from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu),” the source reportedly told Utusan when contacted.

As of Monday (Jan 3), the source said, among the names being considered for the deputy prime minister's post is Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

The source added, however, that this was still at the "bargaining stage" in a move to secure the post for Bersatu.

“Ahmad Faizal’s position is being negotiated because he is the deputy president of Bersatu, meaning he holds the second highest position in the party after Muhyiddin," the source said.

However, if the deputy prime minister's post is given to him, the Youth and Sports portfolio could go to Umno information chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan.

“This means there will be a balance between the number of Umno and Bersatu ministers within Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet,” said the source.

It is understood that two other Bersatu leaders said to be in the running for the post of deputy prime minister are International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

“However, Muhyiddin is leaning towards Azmin. During his administration, he trusted Azmin to handle the duties of prime minister in his absence,” the source added.

Last month, Ismail Sabri said that the Cabinet had achieved 90% of the targets set for its first 100 days in office.

The performance was measured according to each ministry’s performance, leadership evaluation and public perception of the minister and ministry.

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