KJ: Speculations over Hishammuddin's new appointment "unfounded"

AZURA ABAS

PUTRAJAYA: Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today rubbished speculations over the appointment of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as Special Functions Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He described the speculations involving the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and the upcoming Umno election as “unfounded” because the appointment was fully supported by all.

“Yes, the appointment was discussed in the Cabinet last Wednesday and all ministers, including the deputy prime minister, have supported it,” he told reporters after introducing the 2050 National Transformation (TN50) ambassadors.

To a question, he said the reactions had been positive from the grassroots regarding Hishammuddin’s appointment.

Khairy also said the appointment would strengthen the senior leadership team in the government and also in the party to face the upcoming general election whenever that would be.

On whether he would contest for the vice-president post in the party, Khairy had declined to comment instead, he merely stated that he would only answer the question after the general election.

Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister, was appointed as the Special Functions Minister effective last Wednesday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced the appointment in a statement, stating that the appointment would allow Hishammuddin to execute other functions on top of his duties as Defence Minister.

The Prime Minister’s Department has seen a number of Ministers with Special Functions in the past, including Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie (1970-1972), Tan Sri Mohd Asri Muda (1973-1976) and Tan Sri Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Ismail, also from 1973 to 1976.

It was reported that the appointment effectively placed Hishammuddin high up the pecking order in the government, directly behind the prime minister and the deputy prime minister.