Former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa today questioned party members’ call for the deputy prime minister’s (DPM) post to be filled by someone from Umno.
He asked if their demand is aimed at promoting a certain leader, or to have the party be represented in a key position.
In an interview with Umno information chief Sharil Sufian Hamdan streamed on Facebook, Annuar said that while he supports the notion of having an Umno leader be DPM under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, he called on party members to be clear about their intentions.
He also told Shahril that in a closed door meeting with Umno leaders, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had made it clear that he cannot appoint Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or politicians with ongoing court cases into his Cabinet.
Annuar said he was then asked for his views by Muhyiddin.
“I was among those asked and I gave my view that if our president cannot become DPM, best to not have the DPM position and after that, I don’t know. The concept of the four Senior Ministers came about.
“But say for instance, we are serious, and our political bureau made the decision to ask for a Cabinet reshuffle and ask for the DPM post.
To me that is not wrong, but we must ask ourselves: Is the meaning behind wanting the DPM post for a certain specific individual, or are we asking that the prime minister consider a DPM representing Umno?” he asked, reminding his party members that the prerogative to appoint a DPM is the prime minister’s.
“I don’t know whether the message has been given clearly to the prime minister. Does that mean in demanding for the DPM post, we ask that the prime minister go against his own words now and appoint our president although our president is facing court charges?” he asked.
Annuar said that Zahid himself has already made it known that he wants to clear his name in court, and is not seeking favours to have his cases closed.
Last month, Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said one of the party’s leaders should be made DPM, as recognition of its influence in the PN coalition government.
“We contributed the highest number of seats in Parliament so maybe the deputy prime minister post should be given to us,” Tajuddin was quoted as saying by The Star.