KUALA LUMPUR: There is no guarantee that Ismail Sabri Yaakob will continue as prime minister despite Umno’s proposal for the party vice-president to lead the government going into the next general election (GE15).
Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said anything can happen. He then cited the Johor state elections last month, when Hasni Mohammad ended up not becoming the state’s menteri besar after having been named as such by Barisan Nasional (BN) during the election campaign.
“So, there is no guarantee (of Ismail becoming prime minister after GE15). Who was the poster boy in Johor? It was Hasni but it did not happen (him becoming MB). However, we pray for the best,” he told reporters at an event.
Last month, a stalemate between BN and the Johor palace over the choice of menteri besar ultimately saw the coalition’s candidate for the post, Hasni make way for Machap assemblyman Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
There had been speculation that Onn Hafiz, who is defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s nephew, was especially chosen by the Johor royal family.
Meanwhile, Umno vice-president Mahdzir Khalid said that the party was grateful to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and deputy president Mohamad Hasan for bringing the issue up for discussion at the meeting.
He added that this was proof that “Umno is one team”, and that the party’s leaders and grassroots were united in supporting Ismail.
Meanwhile, MCA president Wee Ka Siong said the Umno Supreme Council’s decision to choose Ismail as the prime ministerial candidate would mark a return to the “golden era of Barisan Nasional”.
Describing Ismail’s leadership as “exceptional”, Wee said it was only natural that the Bera MP be named the coalition’s candidate for prime minister.
Wee, who is also the transport minister, added that today’s decision would strengthen the government.
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