Muhyiddin confident of keeping Umno post
DESPITE being axed from the Cabinet, former Malaysian deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin is confident that his position as deputy president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) party is not under threat, the local media reported.
Speaking at a press conference held at his home yesterday, Mr Muhyiddin stressed that he would discharge his party duties as he had before, including strengthening Umno's machinery to face the next general election, due by 2018, reported the Malaysian Insider news website.
He added that he could work with anyone in the party, including Prime Minister Najib Razak - who is Umno's president - and members of its powerful supreme council, as his focus is on the party and its future.
By convention, the DPM's post has been held by Umno's deputy president, with its president as prime minister, said The Star.
Believing that a meeting of the supreme council scheduled for tomorrow would proceed, Mr Muhyiddin said he was not worried about attending the event as its participants are experienced and open leaders. It was announced later that the meeting has been cancelled.
He advised his supporters to put the party and nation first, and not to do anything that could cause the party to split.
Mr Muhyiddin also recounted how he was notified of his dismissal, saying it came less than two hours before Mr Najib made his official announcement on Tuesday.
"He called me to meet him at Putrajaya and we discussed a few things. I asked him why I was called and if it had anything to do with the reshuffle. He nodded," The Star reported him as saying.
"Then I asked him if he had something to tell me. He had a hard time saying, so I asked if my name is not on the (Cabinet) list. He nodded and I said 'thank you' and left," Mr Muhyiddin said of the meeting.
Asked whether it was a fair decision, he said the move was the prerogative of the prime minister and he would not dispute it.
Following his dismissal, there is speculation that opposition to Mr Najib within Umno would coalesce around Mr Muhyiddin.
In recent months, the former DPM has called on Mr Najib to publicly explain the alleged scandal surrounding state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, which has debts of more than US$11 billion (S$15 billion) and is being investigated for alleged financial mismanagement and graft.
He had been a frequent critic of Mr Najib, who was already under pressure from influential former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has called for him to step down. AGENCIES