PM: It was Zahid who suggested Hisham for new portfolio

najib-zahid-hishamudinKUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak says the appointment of Hishammuddin Hussein as minister with special functions in the prime minister’s department was on the recommendation of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Najib said the matter was discussed with Zahid, who is also the home minister, for months before he announced the appointment on Wednesday.

“That’s why I want to say this: let there be no parties trying to pit (Datuk Seri) Hisham against Datuk (Seri) Zahid.

“I discussed (this) with Zahid for months before I announced Hisham as defence minister and (minister) with special functions. In fact, it was Zahid who proposed Hisham,” he said when launching Jentera Jalinan Rakyat Plus (JR Plus) at the Putra World Trade Centre here today.

Also present were the prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor, Zahid, the top leadership of Umno and its wings, including leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties.

Najib announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday. The appointment allows Hishammuddin, who is also Umno vice-president, to execute his new duties apart from his responsibilities as defence minister.

Commenting further, Najib said the relationship between the two leaders was very good.

“There is no problem when the leaders of Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno work as a united team … We also have consensus in Barisan Nasional (BN). The retreat that we held in Janda Baik recently was very successful. It brought about a different kind of spirit.

“We used to organise programmes separately, but from now on, we will hold more programmes in the spirit of BN,” he said.

The prime minister also called for more unity and trust among the existing top leadership of Umno and its wings.

On Aug 7, 2009, BN launched Jalinan Rakyat to replace the “Konsep Ketua 10′ (K10) initiative employed by Wanita Umno as a strategy to forge closer rapport with the people.

JR PLUS will harness the election machineries of Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno as will those of the BN’s component parties and their wings in facing the 14th General Election which must be called by June next year.