Interim PM claims ‘just talk’
Published on: Monday, August 02, 2021
By: Bernama
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BERA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic) on Sunday described claims that he will be appointed interim Prime Minister as merely rumours in media portals and social media. 

He said such rumours were probably ignited to muddle the ongoing situation or split the Government that is making efforts to resolve the bigger problem of containing the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the people. 

“I was also made to understand that in the Federal Constitution, there is no term such as interim Prime Minister or government… I feel these rumours should not be entertained, especially when there are parties trying to divide us because if we do (entertain), the situation will worsen. 

“Don’t be caught up too much with what’s being bandied around because the right thing to do now is to calm the situation. Let us all unite as we have bigger responsibilities, and why don’t we just focus on that,” he said. 

Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, told reporters this after handing out food baskets to the needy at the Charuk Puting mosque and also after inspecting the Guai bridge project, here. 

He was commenting on reports in media portals on Saturday that he has strong support among Cabinet Ministers to be appointed interim Prime Minister to replace Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, with further claims that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) leadership were currently discussing this possibility. 

In a separate development, Ismail Sabri said a letter dated July 29 with a Barisan Nasional (BN) logo on its letterhead that claimed 40 MPs were fully behind the Prime Minister’s leadership was genuine. 

He said the letter, which had his name at the bottom as the sender, was drafted after consent was obtained by the 39 BN MPs involved following a meeting. 

Ismail Sabri was of the view that the letterhead issue was the only reason why BN Executive Secretary Mohamad Shafri Ab Aziz deemed the letter as fake. 

“If I want to issue a press release, what is the letterhead I should use then? The BN letterhead (of course) as the other MPs and I are from BN. To me, there is no issue as what is important is the letter’s contents, which states that 40 of the 42 BN MPs support the current government,” he said. 

Ismail Sabri also contended that the matter was not against the stance adopted by the Umno Supreme Council to allow its MPs, other than Ministers, from the party the freedom of not having to resign (from their positions).

“… from a legal point of view, if support for the Prime Minister is withdrawn, then the Government falls, and so the MPs were of the view that we should support the Government to keep it intact,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri said the decision to adjourn the Special Sitting of the Dewan Rakyat today (Aug 2) was made based on science and health facts, and not due to a political agenda.

He said it was in line with the recommendation of the Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, following the development of positive cases that occurred within four days of the conference, which began last Monday.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) has a relevant act, Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988), to postpone (Parliament) due to concerns. We do not have a Parliament ‘green bubble’...whereby these people are only allowed to travel from Parliament to go home and not to go anywhere else.

“... and we do not know, if there are those who are positive, they go home and meet family members or perhaps, go to other places such as mosques, supermarkets and so on, which are at risk of spreading the virus to more people,” he said.

On July 28, Dr Noor Hisham confirmed that a total of 56 positive cases were detected in a screening test conducted between July 21 and 25 for the Special Sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, while the screening test conducted last Thursday found that 11 more individuals tested positive.

Ismail Sabri also said the MOH, at a special meeting he attended before the conference, had suggested that the Parliament sitting be postponed, or otherwise be conducted with the conditions of shortening the time and reducing the attendance to only 80 people, but the opposition disagreed.

“We are concerned at the increase in cases, but they said it has yet to occur and tried (to hold a session) first. It (sitting) was held even though we could see there would be an increase in cases. After four days of sitting, more swab tests were conducted and there were more cases.

“Finally, the MOH issued an advice for Parliament to be adjourned, and we follow (the advice) because this is an issue that involves lives,” he said.

In this regard, Ismail Sabri hoped that no party would politicise the issue of the postponement of the sitting, but he would not be surprised if it happened because he said that politics in Malaysia has never subsided, compared with other countries, where politicking ceased after elections.

On Saturday, Dewan Rakyat Secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin, in a notice issued to all Dewan Rakyat members, stated that the Special Meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament today (Aug 2) was postponed to a date to be determined later. 


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