Azmin Ali reportedly threatened to withdraw support for M'sia PM if not given DPM role: M'sian media

His aide has denied the allegations.

Jean Chien Tay | August 25, 2021, 05:55 PM

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Following the confirmation of Ismail Sabri Yaakob as Malaysia's ninth prime minister, multiple political factions and parties have begun their jostle for power, as they seek positions in the new Cabinet.

According to sources in UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) and Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party), ex-Pakatan Harapan govt minister Azmin Ali is among the frontrunners for the seat of deputy prime minister, reported Malaysiakini.

Azmin supposedly threatened to withdraw support

Additional sources reportedly claimed that Azmin has threatened to withdraw support if he does not get the deputy's seat, a move that could topple Sabri's slim majority in the parliament.

Sabri currently wields a simple majority of 114 over the total 220 parliamentary seats, and Azmin reportedly commands the support of at least 10 members of parliament (MPs).

The newly appointed prime minister is expected to undergo a vote of confidence in the parliament "as soon as possible", according to Malaysia's king.

The Star: Bersatu will decide on the deputy prime minister

Meanwhile, a source reportedly told The Star that ex-prime minister Muhyiddin's party, Bersatu, has the final say on the deputy prime minister candidate.

The source mentioned that this was according to a deal with Sabri in exchange for support.

Currently, the contenders for the deputy's seat have been narrowed down to two candidates, Azmin and Bersatu's Hamzah Zainudin, as per the source. Hamzah previously served as Home Affairs minister.

The source elaborated that Hamzah brought in six MPs from UMNO and pledged his allegiance to Bersatu before Azmin, while Azmin "went all out to get support for Muhyiddin to become prime minister" after Mahathir resigned in February 2020.

Azmin's daughter's tweet

On Aug. 24, screenshots of Azmin's daughter seemingly tweeting to confirm the news were circulated online.

Uploading a picture of her father, Amira Azmin appears to have tweeted, "Yes. Confirmed TPM Malaysia."

Netizens interpreted that TPM is short for "Timbalan Perdana Menteri", which means deputy prime minister in Malay.

At the time of writing, Amira's Twitter account has been deleted.

Azmin's aide denies allegations to withdraw support

However, Azmin's political secretary, Muhammad Hilman Idham has denied the allegations that Azmin threatened to withdraw his support for Sabri if he did not get the deputy's seat, reported Astro Awani.

Hilman reportedly said the reports were "malicious and irresponsible", and aimed at destabilising the political situation in Malaysia.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Bersatu MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who is believed to be in Azmin's camp, denied making threats for the deputy prime minister's seat.

Bersatu supreme council member Razali Idris reportedly denied that the decision for the deputy prime minister candidate has been made. According to him, the decision will be made between Sabri and Muhyiddin.

UMNO supreme council member: 'Political suicide' to appoint Azmin

Responding to the news, UMNO supreme council member Puad Zarkashi likened the appointment of Azmin to "political suicide" in his Facebook post.

He welcomed Azmin's denial and claimed that Azmin's performance and moral image are "negative" in the eyes of the public.

He pointed out that since Azmin had already formalised his support for Muhyiddin, the vote of confidence scheduled for September no longer matters.

Puad also offered a solution to the situation, saying that the government should leave the deputy prime minister's seat vacant, and it will be a "checkmate" to lobbyists and people who are jostling for the job.

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Top image via Azmin Ali/Facebook