Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has appointed Ismail Sabri Yaakob as his deputy and Hishammuddin Hussein as a senior minister, his office announced today.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement that both appointments had been presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and were effective immediately.
It said Ismail would continue holding his defence portfolio while Hishammuddin had been made senior foreign affairs minister and would take over the security cluster previously headed by Ismail.
“The prime minister has also agreed that Hishammuddin assist him in the implementation of the National Recovery Plan,” the PMO said.
The appointment of a deputy prime minister fills the void that had existed in the Cabinet since the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in February.
It also comes after several meetings among Umno MPs and Cabinet members which saw them rejecting a proposal by their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to take the party out of the government.
Hishammuddin now joins three other senior ministers: Mohamed Azmin Ali, Radzi Jidin and Fadillah Yusof.
Ismail has been the MP of Bera in Pahang since March 2004, and was the Parliament opposition leader during the 22 months of Pakatan Harapan rule.
In the previous Barisan Nasional government, he held several Cabinet portfolios under the leadership of Najib Razak and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, serving as the minister for rural and regional development, agriculture, domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism, as well as youth and sports.
In a statement following his appointment, Ismail thanked Muhyiddin for the trust placed in him.
“This appointment is not a privilege; rather it is a trust and a heavy responsibility especially as we are facing the Covid-19 pandemic and are in efforts to make the National Recovery Plan a success.
“I hope that we will together, without considering religion, race or political persuasion, lead Malaysia to a better future,” he said.