PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim’s new Cabinet is not likely to include former minister Hishammuddin Hussein and former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob of Umno, says a source in the know.
Their inclusion in the Cabinet would be a “great surprise” even though Ismail and Hishammuddin, ministers since 2008 and 1998 respectively, have more experience in government than most Barisan Nasional MPs.
The two men were widely-reported to have taken a stance against Umno working with Pakatan Harapan, “so it will be a great surprise if they are appointed to the Cabinet”.
“I’m sure even the most hardcore Anwar supporter would find it perplexing if he appointed Hishammuddin and Ismail,” said the source, who declined to be named.
Hishammuddin was senior minister for security and defence minister in the government headed by Ismail as prime minister.
During the political stalemate in the aftermath of the general election, Hishammuddin said he held firm to his stance against cooperation with PH.
He said on Nov 21 that he would not change his stance and would rather be sacked from Umno by those who had earlier adopted the principle of “No Anwar, No DAP”.
The next day, Ismail also said he would not work with PH under any circumstances, following a BN announcement to form the parliamentary opposition and not support either of the two coalitions contending for power.
BN subsequently agreed to support a unity government to be formed by PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim, who was appointed prime minister on Thursday.
Another question mark lies over the 10 MPs from Barisan Nasional who had initially supported Perikatan Nasional’s bid to form the government.
It is understood the 10 MPs have claimed they were misled into supporting PN by a senior Umno leader. “So they (10 MPs) could still make the cut. But the leader who misled them should take responsibility,” the source said.
Anwar is expected to name his Cabinet within days. He leads a unity government comprising PH, BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, with support from MPs from Muda, Warisan, Parti Bangsa Malaysia and independents.