Hishammuddin best man for job of Special Functions Minister: Johor MB

Ahmad Fairuz Othman

SHANGHAI: Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is the best choice to take on responsibilities that come under his additional portfolio as Special Functions Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said today.

Khaled lauded the appointment of Hishammuddin to his new role, adding that awarding Cabinet ministers with additional portfolios is the sole prerogative of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said that Hishammuddin, who is more popularly referred to as Hisham, was appointed to the new role based on his capabilities.

"The Prime Minister would have made several evaluations (on the matter). He would have looked into the need of having someone who would carry out special functions, and who is capable of (the job).

"In the Prime Minister's opinion, he needed a member of the Cabinet, and decided that Datuk Hisham was the best person (for the role).

"Therefore, there is no reason for any quarter to dispute or question this matter. I believe the appointment was done for the sake of the country, and I am confident Datuk Hisham is capable of carrying out this new responsibility, in addition to his responsibilities as Defence Minister," said Khaled, at the end of his four-day official visit to Shanghai as part of a Malaysian trade and investment mission.

Khaled said that appointing a Cabinet minister to oversee special functions has been done before, and explained that he himself was given such duties and functions twice during his tenure as a Cabinet minister in the past.

Khaled said Najib had tasked him five years ago with forging bilateral relations with Egypt, when former Egyptian Prime Minister, Mohammed Morsi, had first come to power, following the country's uprising against President Hosni Mubarak.

"The task was given to me by the Prime Minister, even though I was only the Higher Education Minister, and not the Foreign Minister, at that time.

"The second instance when I performed special tasks as a Cabinet minister was when I chaired the Parliamentary Select Committee for Lynas.

"It is the same with Datuk Hisham now. In the Prime Minister's opinion, he needs a member of his Cabinet to carry out special functions," said Khaled.