Hishammuddin's new portfolio will strengthen Home, Foreign Ministries: Zahid

FAIRUZ MOHD SHAHAR


PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the new tasks assigned to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as the Special Functions Minister, are meant to further strengthen the government's and party's leadership institutions.

Zahid said Hishammuddin's new portfolio is not designed to supersede the roles of the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry.

"We have discussed several tasks for Hishammuddin as the Special Functions Minister, which includes boosting the leadership institutions of the government and party. I am confident that with his vast experience in government,” he will be able to help me and the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Hishammuddin will also assist both of us to address domestic and international issues.

"In my opinion, Hishammuddin is capable of carrying out his additional duty. His new role is not meant to overtake the tasks of the Home Ministry or the Foreign Ministry, but to enhance and complement the role of the prime minister and myself," Zahid told reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Hishammuddin at his office here, today.

Zahid was responding to a question on how Hishammuddin's new task differs from the functions of the Home Ministry and Foreign Ministry in safeguarding Sabah and addressing foreign issues.

It was reported on Monday that Hishammuddin’s first task as Special Functions Minister is to monitor security in Sabah, where he will be working closely with Zahid and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

Zahid and Musa jointly chair the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone), while Najib is the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chairman.

Zahid also confirmed that he was the one who suggested that Najib appoint Hishammuddin as the Special Functions Minister, three months ago.

"The three of us (Najib, Zahid and Hishammuddin) have something in common. All of us held the post of Defence Minister. So, many things can be done as Defence Minister.

"Hishammuddin's new portfolio will enable him to help me and the prime minister.

"This does not mean that Hishammuddin is representing us, but he is representing the government," he added.

Last week, Najib announced Hishammuddin’s appointment as Minister with Special Functions in the Prime Minister's Department.