A string of rumours have greeted Zuraida Kamaruddin’s exit from Bersatu, covering everything from Barisan Nasional welcoming a new component party to a Cabinet reshuffle which would purportedly see Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointing a new second-in-command.
One report even named Bersatu secretary-general and current home minister Hamzah Zainudin as the most likely candidate for deputy prime minister – a claim rubbished today by the party’s number two, Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
“Don’t entertain rumours,” Faizal, who is part of Ismail’s delegation to Japan, told MalaysiaNow.
“The prime minister himself is busy meeting with people. I have not seen him sit down with his political advisers to discuss a Cabinet reshuffle,” he said, adding that Ismail’s schedule was too packed to allow him time for political discussions.
Zuraida, the Ampang MP, announced her departure from Bersatu yesterday and her intention to join Parti Bangsa Malaysia instead.
She also said she would discuss her resignation as plantation industries and commodities minister with Ismail as soon as possible.
A report later said that Ismail would reshuffle his Cabinet to fill the vacancy left by Zuraida, claiming as well that the prime minister would choose Hamzah, the home minister and Bersatu secretary-general, as his deputy.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin had however said that he would nominate a candidate to replace Zuraida as her Cabinet post formed part of the party’s quota.
He also said that her party membership would be immediately terminated in line with Clause 10 of the Bersatu constitution.
Faizal meanwhile maintained that he still held the position of youth and sports minister, adding that his focus should be on his work.
“This is the time to work, not to think of positions,” he said.
“We can’t be too caught up in politics.”