Johor Umno deputy chief Nur Jazlan Mohamed said putting off a decision on Zuraida Kamaruddin’s ministerial post signals Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s weak position.
He labelled the delay as a “mess” and claimed that the prime minister was being “held to ransom” by certain factions.
“It is just a mess and reflects his weak position. He is unable to make decisions or assert his authority because he is being held to ransom by certain quarters.
“The fact that he is dragging his feet shows that he could be buying time.
“It’s already been more than two weeks since she left Bersatu for Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) and she is still in the cabinet. Never has an Umno prime minister been this weak in the nation’s history,” Nur Jazlan was quoted as saying in a Free Malaysia Today report.
He said this while commenting on Ismail Sabri’s silence on whether the former Bersatu MP would be swapped for another Bersatu MP or if he would allow her to remain at her post until the next general election.
The former Pulai MP lamented that it was hardly a situation that involved disposing of an indispensable minister, given that many other MPs were equally capable of leading the ministry.
When asked if he felt that Ismail Sabri was potentially worried about the loss of support from three PBM MPs, Nur Jazlan replied that anything was possible when the premier was in a weak position.
A withdrawal of the three PBM MPs could impact the voting on bills at the next Parliament meeting – which is set for July.
Yesterday, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin called on the prime minister to hasten his decision on Zuraida’s cabinet post.
He said that Ismail Sabri was free to retain the plantations and commodities minister, so long as Bersatu’s ministerial quota remained.
Muhyiddin noted that it had been two weeks since Zuraida announced her departure from Bersatu to PBM and he is still waiting to meet Ismail Sabri to discuss her replacement.
Muhyiddin added that he has prepared the name of Zuraida’s replacement but has not submitted it to Ismail Sabri.
On June 19, Zuraida had indicated her hopes that she would be retained in the cabinet in order to ensure continuity in the programmes planned by the ministry.
Zuraida announced her decision to leave Bersatu and join PBM in May, saying she would discuss her resignation as a minister with the prime minister.