PETALING JAYA: The appointment of Hishammuddin Hussein as special functions minister is a move by Prime Minister Najib Razak to consolidate his hold on power, says Lim Kit Siang.
Calling it a coup d’etat, the DAP supremo said it was done simply to protect the prime minister.
“There can be no administrative or ministerial justification for the additional appointment of Hishammuddin as special functions minister in the Prime Minister’s Department while retaining his portfolio as defence minister.
“Unless, it is a political and ‘strategic’ move to protect Najib from being ousted as the sixth prime minister of Malaysia – whether externally as a result of defeat in the next general election (GE14) or from being toppled internally as prime minister before the polls,” Lim said in a statement today.
The DAP veteran said his argument lies on Najib’s unpopularity among Malay voters becoming more and more evident.
“As a result, there will be a strengthening school of thought inside Umno that one ideal solution to ensure that Umno can be returned to power in the next general election is to change the Umno leader leading the charge in GE14.
“This is more palatable for Umno diehards than teaming up with PAS, which is even thinking of a PAS-Umno Federal government, with Hadi Awang as prime minister based on a PAS-Umno government with 80 PAS MPs, 40 Umno MPs and 45 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak,” Lim said, justifying his coup d’etat reference.
Yesterday, Najib made the announcement on Hishammuddin, thus making the latter the tenth minister in the prime minister’s department, which Lim said was a new record.
“However, Hishammuddin will be completely different from the other nine ministers, as he will be the most powerful minister in the prime minister’s department.
“Hishammuddin will not be like MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong, a minister without responsibilities or power, but will in fact be the most powerful minister in the cabinet, the de facto deputy prime minister,” the DAP parliamentary leader said.
The Gelang Patah MP also predicted that Hishammuddin’s new portfolio was to ensure he will take charge of the Umno/Barisan Nasional campaign for the next generation election.
Taking a swipe at the sudden elevation of Najib’s first cousin – their mothers are sisters – Lim said the move was also a vote of no confidence on the propaganda offensive launched by BN strategic communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan against Pakatan Harapan.
“Umno/BN-owned and controlled mainstream media and the social media are using low-class and counter-productive demonisation campaigns against Pakatan Harapan leaders.
“For instance, demonising me as a devil, monster, anti-Malay, anti-Islam, a communist, a PAP stooge, what-have-you, and this has seen BN losing even more credibility, to the extent that Najib has continued to sink in popularity,” Lim said.