The Umno Supreme Council is meeting again tonight, purportedly to discuss its choice for the position of deputy prime minister, said several sources.
They said appointing someone from the party to the position was the basis for the party’s continued support for Perikatan Nasional and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Tonight’s meeting would be the second time the Malay party’s highest decision-making body is meeting in four days, after its four-hour meeting on Monday.
Supreme Council members, in confirming the meeting, said it was to discuss the way forward and the candidate for deputy prime minister from among its ranks.
Another source said the meeting was called as they had learnt Muhyiddin had picked his deputy without consulting the party.
“It’s our right to decide,” he said on the choice of candidate.
Berita Harian reported that the meeting was called following a small “commotion” between ministers from Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) during the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
There were also speculations suggesting that Zahid had offered himself as candidate for the DPM position on the capacity that the Bagan Datuk member of parliament is the party president that will subsequently avoid infighting within Umno.
Several news portals, however, reported that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was seen gravitating towards naming other leaders for the post.
He reportedly does not want the post to be given to Zahid, who is still facing corruption charges in court.
Among the names touted included Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
One source said that Hishammuddin Hussein, who does not hold a central post in Umno, is also an unlikely pick.
“Hishammuddin’s chances to be nominated are slim, because this may not sit well with many Umno leaders,” the source claimed.
Hishammuddin is viewed by rivals in the party as being responsible for mass defections from Umno to splinter party Bersatu following the 2018 general election.
Berita Harian, however, reported that Muhyiddin had offered the position to Hishammuddin, but the Sembrong MP had turned down the offer for the sake of the party.
Ismail Sabri, who is the Senior Defence Minister, holds the highest position in the party – the vice-president’s post – while Annuar is the Barisan Nasional secretary-general.
There were also speculations suggesting that Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who is the Rantau assemblyman, as among the names touted for the deputy prime minister’s post.