A pro-Umno portal’s take on the appointment of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as minister with special functions in the Najib administration is,”interesting”, to say the least.
According to MyKMU.net, the move could be viewed as being part of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s plan to step down after the next general election.
The portal went on to say “therefore Najib brings in Hishammuddin, who is Umno vice president, as a step to facilitate the process of a team comprising Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and Hishammuddin being prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively, if BN wins the next general election.”
The portal said, “If the prime minister has a power transition plan in view of the coming general election, he wants to send a clear indication that Hishammuddin should be elevated as Zahid’s deputy.”
Hence, MyKMU.net is suggesting that Hishammuddin is now being prepped for the post of deputy prime minister.
If that being the case, then he must first be elected deputy Umno president. Already many in Umno are saying Hishammuddin’s appointment as special functions minister while getting to keep his ministerial job in Mindef is an advantage for him at party polls, although they were referring to the vice presidency race.
Hishammuddin is currently the “lone” Umno VP as Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal has left the party while Zahid is VP carrying out the duty of deputy president.
Hishammuddin defending the vice presidency is given unless MyKMU.net’s speculation becomes a reality.
However the big questions are:
1. Is Najib stepping down?
2. If so, when?
3. If Najib is to step down after GE14, why should he do so after BN wins the election?
4. Will he not be leading BN in GE14?
Back to MyKMU.net’s “theory”. The portal is known as one which has often defended Najib’s decisions and policies. Some people, including those in Umno, have even labeled it as the “voice of Najib”, albeit in jest.
The “theory” could very well be true. God knows, or as Muslims would say “Waullahualam”.
But it could also be seen as something to allay “concerns” or should it be to douse the anger of Zahid’s supporters who see their leader “is about to be betrayed”?
An Umno insider told me that the general feeling among Perak Umno is that the move to appoint Hishammuddin is “to clip the wings of Zahid”.
Zahid, as we know, hails from Perak, but he has his supporters all over the country. And Zahid is very popular among Umno members.
Zahid himself has expressed support for Hishammuddin’s appointment, and Hishammuddin on his part has warned all quarters not to exploit his appointment and create a rift in the Najib administration.
Nevertheless, Umno folks are still talking and speculating.
A political observer with good Umno links said division party leaders and Umno grassroots (at least the ones he spoke to) told him they were not happy and were shocked by Najib’s move.
The fact that Hishammuddin is Najib’s cousin is not helping things.
“They feel it’s like nepotism and Najib is consolidating his position and promoting his cousin to be deputy Umno president at the expense of Zahid,” said the political observer.
There are more that they said, all not flattering for the PM.
But the main worry is that the move can cause “cracks” within the ranks which may lead to a major break-up in Umno.
A source close to Zahid told me he believed Hishammuddin “has a political mission for the PM”.
And a former Umno strategist involved in the party’s GE13 machinery claimed that he was told Hishammuddin’s appointment “is all about GE14”.
“Hisham’s image is still good. He will be playing a key role in the coming election. Among other things, Hisham’s social media team is solid. Najib wants to leverage on this strength,” said the former strategist while conceding the prime minister needed “somebody super trustworthy”.
And Zahid, he said, would handle party matters, meaning Najib has ironed out specific tasks for Zahid and Hishammuddin to work as a team to face the election which he wants not only to win but to win big.
This means Najib is not going anywhere, and Hishammuddin is set for better things, if what the ex-strategist said turns out to be true.