Zahid not bothered by talk he may be out of favour

Zahid-HamidiKUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is not bothered by attempts of certain people, including the opposition, to politicise the appointment of Hishammuddin Hussein as special functions minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He said he was not surprised that the opposition would choose to criticise every step taken by the government, such as Defence Minister Hishammuddin’s additional post.

“They have never praised the government. Why should we be surprised? We should just do our work and not be bothered by them,” he said at a press conference after delivering a speech at the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) here.

Prime Minister Najib Razak had announced the appointment of Umno vice-president Hishammuddin as special functions minister, in a statement on Wednesday.

Zahid, the Umno deputy president, had, on the same day, expressed his support for the move, saying it would help smoothen government administration.

Several opposition members and analysts have, however, taken it as signifying the existence of friction between Najib and Zahid, and that the move may possibly pave the way for Hishammudddin to be the next prime minister.

Zahid said he would continue carrying out his responsibilities in a sincere manner without being troubled by talk taking place behind his back.

“I have been criticised before, but I do not care and am only undertaking my responsibilities,” he said.

“As long as I do not sin before God, and do not go against the law and anything unethical, I will continue with what I am doing no matter what people say,” he added.

Others have also been appointed special functions minister in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The post was revived in June 1998, with the appointment of former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, shortly before the dismissal of Anwar Ibrahim, who was then deputy prime minister, from the government in September.

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