PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is unlikely to give in to Umno’s demands for a Cabinet reshuffle or to appoint one of its leaders as a deputy prime minister.
It is learnt that members of the Bersatu political bureau which met for three hours on Saturday (Oct 17) have urged their party president to stand firm and not cave in to “threats” or be “held to ransom” by any party in the government.
A Cabinet minister and member of the powerful political body had said at the meeting: “Tan Sri, don’t ever concede to this type of demands or else there will be new demands and threats every other week.”
However, Bersatu leaders were open to Umno’s suggestion for a presidential council to discuss and give input on government policies.
It is also learnt that Muhyiddin will not be attending the Muafakat Nasional meeting on Monday (Oct 19) night, which is expected to discuss and take a stand on the state of political affairs in the country following Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he has the numbers to form the government.
Some Bersatu leaders claimed that although the party was invited to join Muafakat Nasional, the invitation was not followed up with a formal acceptance.
There is also some “bad news” for Muafakat Nasional which comprises Umno and PAS – members of the Bersatu political bureau are against registering the coalition.
Umno and PAS leaders were hoping to register Muafakat Nasional so that they can face the general election as a formal body of cooperation.
It is understood that Muhyiddin has conveyed the party’s decisions to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when they got together at Muhyiddin’s Bukit Damansara residence on Saturday evening.
Muhyiddin is believed to have informed his partners that he does not intend to appoint a deputy prime minister or to reshuffle the Cabinet and that he was happy with the existing line-up as well as with the Umno ministers.
Muhyiddin also brought up the issue of a letter to the King that had stirred much controversy the last few days.
Bersatu leaders are terribly upset over a letter that Ahmad Zahid had allegedly written to the King expressing support for Anwar.
Bersatu leaders who claimed to have sighted the letter regard it as a betrayal.
The letter which was co-signed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed that several Umno MPs support Anwar’s bid for the premiership.
Neither Ahmad Zahid nor Najib have personally denied it, although Umno executive secretary Datuk Mohd Sumali Reduan has declared that the letter that had gone viral is fake.
It is unclear how Ahmad Zahid explained himself over the letter.
The political bureau also discussed several other matters, including Anwar’s meeting with the King and former education minister and Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik’s support for Anwar.
The Muafakat Nasional leaders will have much to chew on when they meet on Monday night.