The post of deputy prime minister is all Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is meant to be, claims former Umno minister Zainudin Maidin, following the appointment of Hishammuddin Hussein as a special functions minister.
“This appointment confirms that the future of the country is in the hands of Hishammuddin as the prime minister.
“He (Hishammuddin) will be the prime minister of Malaysia and Ahmad Zahid is only suitable to be a deputy prime minister forever,” Zainudin, the former editor-in-chief of Utusan Malaysia who is widely known as Zam, said in a blog posting last night.
Zam argued that the new appointment showed that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would do anything to replace Hishammuddin as the prime minister, including taking the big risk of blocking Zahid from premiership.
Najib gave Hishammuddin this new appointment during a confidence crisis from the rakyat, most of whom already see Zahid as his successor, Zam said.
Zahid is also very popular in the party, more so than Hishammuddin, he pointed out.
However, by appointing Hishammuddin as special functions minister, Najib showed that he thinks Zahid is only qualified to be deputy prime minister.
“He (Najib) has indirectly told the country that Hishammuddin is the next prime minister while demoralising Zahid,” Zam said.
“Zahid had to swallow a bitter pill while making a statement welcoming Hishammuddin’s appointment.
“It is like the first wife giving a bitter smile in blessing the husband to marry the second wife,” he added.
If Zahid wants to preserve his status, Zam said, he has to accept Hishammuddin’s appointment.
Soon after the announcement, speculation arose that Najib was prepping Hishammuddin to take over the leadership reins and that this did not bode well for Zahid.
Najib had sacked Zahid’s predecessor, Muhyiddin Yassin, in a cabinet reshuffle in July 2015.
However, Hishammuddin has dismissed such speculation, and warned all quarters against exploiting his appointment to cause a rift in the Najib administration.