Ahmad Zahid Hamidi have urged Umno leaders and members not to demand Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to re-create the post of deputy prime minister by giving the quota to the party.
The Umno president said the power to appoint deputy prime ministers, ministers and deputy ministers rested entirely at the discretion of the prime minister.
“Therefore, speculation, interpretation or any analysis on the post of deputy prime minister should not be discussed in public even though it is admitted that it was discussed in party meetings. That right of appointment is the right of the prime minister.
“Any party can ask but stay away from urging because we must respect the power in the hands of the prime minister,”he said.
He was commenting to a statement by Ismail Sabri Yaakob that Umno will resurrect the position of Deputy Prime Minister as soon as the debate on the presentation of the 2021 Budget in the Dewan Rakyat is completed.
Ismail said, currently no Umno leader is given the highest position in the Cabinet except for one of the four senior ministerial positions that he holds.
He said, Umno has the largest number of seats in the National Alliance government (PN).
“Barisan Nasional (BN) has 42 seats in Parliament but we do not have the highest position. My Senior Minister is someone else all from Bersatu.
“So it is fair if Umno asks for the post of DPM and should be given as the proposal of the Political Bureau and also the Supreme Council (Umno),” he said in an exclusive interview with a news portal.
Apart from that, the Bera Member of Parliament said, the post of DPM has been agreed by the party according to the hierarchy by prioritizing the top five leaders starting with the President, Deputy President and besides three other Vice Presidents.
He added that his party will leave it to the public to evaluate the leaders who are truly qualified to hold the post.
“For Umno, we need the post of DPM but people who are outside the hierarchy should not fill the position.
“They also cannot appoint as they please, they must respect UMNO’s stand. So, I hope after the Budget, this matter will be discussed again, ”he said.
Earlier, there were several names of UMNO leaders who have been shortlisted as candidates for the highest government positions, among them are Sembrong Member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein; Gua Musang Member of Parliament, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Ismail Sabri himself.
Ahmad Zahid also hopes that Bersatu and PAS will give way to their party candidates in the Gerik Parliamentary by-election scheduled to take place in January next year.
He said, the support of Bersatu and PAS is necessary to give victory in the Umno stronghold seat.
“Given that we are currently facing the Covid-19 pandemic, all parties, including the opposition, should avoid contesting in the by-election and thus give victory to Umno candidates,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid also said that BN will field local candidates because the individual knows and understands the local problems and the life of the community in the area.
He explained that the selection of candidates was handed over to Perak Umno Liaison Committee Chairman Saarani Mohamad who will hold discussions with Umno Gerik Division.
“We will choose the best among the best candidates. We will shortlist the names when Umno Gerik Division submits it to the State Umno Liaison Body and then submits (candidates) to me as BN Chairman for us to finalize,” he added.