‘Pact on Cabinet posts made before PM was appointed’

IPOH: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pic) says that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had made a pact on Cabinet appointments prior to the change in leadership between the both of them.

He said the pact was made before the cooperation between the political parties, and before the prime minister’s post was transferred from Muhyiddin to Ismail Sabri.

“In the event someone from Bersatu who is in the Cabinet decides to leave, the replacement must come from the same party.

“The party’s president (Muhyiddin) is firm in meeting the Prime Minister to present a candidate’s name to represent Bersatu in the Cabinet,” he said after attending the Hari Raya open house hosted by PAS here yesterday.

Hamzah was responding to questions on the replacement of Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, who quit Bersatu on May 26.

However, some Umno ministers said that the prerogative on her Cabinet appointment was with the Prime Minister and not Bersatu.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Thursday that the prerogative to decide on Zuraida’s replacement in the Cabinet was solely the Prime Minister’s decision.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican also said all parties should respect the Prime Minister’s prerogative in appointing a Cabinet minister.

On the claim by Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan that Bersatu was getting weaker with Zuraida quitting, Hamzah said her leaving had nothing to do with the position of the party.

“Bersatu is a strong party in the Cabinet. The current Prime Minister holds the position from the votes of other parties as well, not just Umno. So Ahmad does not need to feel so big,” he added.

At the same event, PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang said it was up to Zuraida to quit and join whatever party she wanted since the anti-hopping law had not yet been enforced.

“This is a democratic country. About her replacement, the Prime Minister will decide after having discussions with Perikatan Nasional (parties).

“So let’s just wait without making any assumptions,” he said.

Perikatan – comprising Bersatu, PAS, Gerakan, Sabah STAR and SAPP – is in Ismail Sabri’s Umno-led Federal Government.

Meanwhile, Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said Zuraida had not resigned as minister but from her party.

He added that discussions between Zuraida and Ismail Sabri should take place first before any major decisions on her are made.

“I agree with the Prime Minister. Zuraida didn’t resign as minister and that was what the Prime Minister said.

“She mentioned about meeting the Prime Minister as soon as possible. Let both of them discuss,” he said.

Bersatu Youth chief Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal also said that the final decision on Zuraida’s Cabinet post was with the Prime Minister.

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