Ismail’s appointment has not swayed the supreme council against discussing an immediate exit from PN.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob has thanked party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the rest of the leadership for their “support”, following his appointment as the country’s new deputy prime minister.
However, Ismail can’t rest on his laurels just yet – as his appointment and plans for the party to exit the Perikatan Nasional-led government are expected to be debated at the Umno supreme council meeting tonight.
Sources close to Zahid told Malaysiakini that Ismail’s appointment as deputy prime minister today has not swayed the supreme council against discussing an immediate exit from the PN government tonight.
“It does not change (the situation). The meeting will go ahead as planned,” claimed a source close to Zahid.
Former Umno president Najib Abdul Razak – who is on Zahid’s side – also indicated that the supreme council would be one to watch.
“As in the case of ministers, these new appointments are under the purview of the prime minister. Congratulations to Ismail and (new senior minister) Hishammuddin Hussein.
“However, let’s wait and see what the outcome of Umno Supreme Council meeting is tonight,” Najib said in a Facebook post.
The last line has since been removed from his post but can still be viewed on his edit history.
Ismail’s appointment runs against a supreme council decision to reject the deputy prime minister post.
Umno sources indicate that prior to releasing his statement thanking Zahid, Ismail had gone to the party headquarters at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur in an attempt to make peace.
The outcome of that meeting is uncertain.
While Zahid has the supreme council on his side, a majority of Umno and BN MPs appear to side with Ismail and Hishammuddin.
The duo could use the appointments to convince the Umno grassroots that they have received concessions from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and there was no need to quit the PN government.
In his statement today, Ismail prayed for unity across racial, religious, and political lines to bring Malaysia to a better future.
Likewise, Hishammuddin said stability and cooperation were needed to navigate Malaysia out of a crisis.
Zahid will hold a virtual press conference via Facebook live after the meeting tonight.
By : HARIZ MOHD – MALAYSIAKINI