GEORGE TOWN: Hishammuddin Hussein’s new role as special functions minister is an indication of a possible crisis boiling over at the top echelons of the Cabinet and Umno, the DAP’s P Ramasamy says.
Ramasamy said Hishammuddin’s appointment spoke volumes about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s political chess move to ensure his interests were protected after his likely exit from politics.
Najib announced the additional post for Hishammuddin yesterday, making the latter the tenth minister in the prime minister’s department.
Najib, Ramasamy claimed, was looking for “an honourable exit” in case he was implicated in any “issue” midway.
Saying Hishammuddin’s new position signified Najib’s lack of confidence in Zahid Hamidi’s possible ascension to the post of prime minister, Ramasamy added it was also indicative of souring relations between Najib and Zahid.
“I think we are seeing telltale signs that there is a crisis in Umno. And Hishammuddin’s appointment is a clear sign Najib and Zahid are not getting along.”
Zahid might not have known about this, although he had said he supported the move, said Ramasamy.
Ramasamy said Hishammuddin’s appointment was a strategic one. “Remember, Hishammuddin is no ordinary person. He is Najib’s relative.” Hishammuddin and Najib are cousins.
“I think the heat is too much for Najib to remain in office, especially after the 1MDB scandal and other things that have not gone well with the government and the country.
“I bet Najib thinks he can pull off the next election easily with Hishammuddin’s appointment,” Ramasamy said.
Ramasamy said the shock appointment would only lead to the further erosion of Umno’s voter base.
He claimed that half of Umno’s votes had already gone to the party led by former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.