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    Jun 27, 2016

    Najib may unveil new Cabinet today


    MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak is expected to announce a new Cabinet today in a reshuffle to fill vacant positions, sources told The Star newspaper.

    The reshuffle might involve up to four ministers and three deputy ministers, it cited a Putrajaya source as saying.

    Those affected by the reshuffle have been notified to get ready to be sworn in before the King following the announcement by the Prime Minister.

    Mr Najib had announced his plan to rejig the line-up after the ruling coalition won the Sarawak state elections by an increased majority last month.

    However, he told reporters on Friday that he needed more time to think about a Cabinet reshuffle.

    The Prime Minister's office was not immediately available for a comment.

    The last Cabinet reshuffle in August last year saw then-deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and rural and regional development minister Shafie Apdal, both Najib critics, being axed.

    Meanwhile, a group comprising some rebel Umno branch leaders has floated the idea of forming a new political party headed by former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and the two leaders who were sacked on Friday - Dr Mahathir's son Mukhriz Mahathir and Mr Muhyiddin.

    The Gerakan Ketua Cawangan Malaysia (GKCM) group raised the suggestion in a statement released on Saturday, the Malaysiakini news website reported.

    "GKCM will commence action. Umno is plagued by a serious loss of confidence.

    "Is it goodbye to Umno?" the website cited the group's president Kamarul Azman as saying in a statement.

    The group also claimed that Mr Najib, who is also Umno party president, was facing integrity issues, adding that the people would rise up against what it alleged was the widespread abuse of power in the country.

    The GKCM's call came a day after Mr Muhyiddin and Mr Mukhriz, the party's two biggest rebels, were sacked, following recent elections that have strengthened Mr Najib's hand.

    The GKCM had previously declared Dr Mahathir as the official patron of an Umno grassroots leadership movement that was seeking to oust Mr Najib from office.

    Mr Muhyiddin, 69, who was Umno's deputy president, was sacked 11 months after Mr Najib fired him from the Cabinet in a shocking move for raising questions about the scandal surrounding state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

    The removal of Mr Mukhriz, 51, was done four months after he was forced to step down as Kedah chief minister.