Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Muhyiddin’s head on the block?

Muhyiddin’s head on the block?

Speculation is rife that Muhyiddin may be dropped in the next Cabinet reshuffle.


SEPT 18 — Is there a Cabinet reshuffle in the offing? This question must have coursed through the minds of many ministers yesterday as they listened to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi address them at their weekly meeting.

After stunning them with the announcement that he would be relinquishing his position in the Finance Ministry to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he talked about recent developments and made a startling observation that there were a few people in the room he did not trust.

Several ministers told The Malaysian Insider that no names were mentioned but the consensus was that he was speaking about Minister of International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and possibly even Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

They believe that it is only a matter of time before the Cabinet is reshuffled, as early as after the divisional elections in October or latest just after the party elections in December.

They also are convinced that Najib will have significant input in the next line-up of ministers.

Top of the list to get the chop or at least suffer the ignominy of a demotion could be Muhyiddin. Several ministers and menteris besar have been canvassing for the Umno vice-president to be sacked from government for insubordination.

They have told the PM that Muhyiddin has undermined him by repeatedly pushing for his ouster, especially after agreeing with the Umno supreme council to endorse the two-year transition plan.

Despite having his ears bent, Abdullah has held off sacking Muhyiddin, knowing that wielding the axe could inadvertently turn the latter into a martyr in the eyes of the party faithful and galvanise support in Umno for him.

Still, if any action is to be taken against Muhyiddin or Rais, it will be decided by the supreme council today. The main grouse among some council members is that Muhyiddin challenged the transition plan publicly instead of discussing the matter behind closed doors. But even they will be wary of upsetting rank-and-file sentiment a few weeks before the all-important divisional meetings.

Malaysian Insider

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