PUTRAJAYA – The appointment of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein as the Minister of Special Functions is not to take over the duty of another ministry but to complement and strengthen the leadership institution in the government and party, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, pointed out the the responsibility given to Hishammuddin was to continue the serious efforts of the government in tackling the various internal and international issues.
“He (Hishammuddin) can implement and assist the Prime Minister and me in discharging our duties. It does not mean taking over other ministries such as the Foreign Ministry. His duty is to enhance and complement the role of (the) prime minister and other ministers.
“Basically, Hishammuddin will assist (the) prime minister and me in putting serious efforts to translate the Malaysian government’s commitment towards addressing domestic and foreign issues, if there is any,” he told reporters after a courtesy call by Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister, at his office at Perdana Putra, here today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said he had proposed Hishammuddin’s name as the Minister of Special Functions as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently.
“I made the proposal to the prime minister three months ago and at that time, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin was not present at the meeting. This was a sincere gesture from me personally and formally to Datuk Seri Hishammuddin because the three of us (including Najib) had previously been the Minister of Defence and know that many other tasks need to be done.
“If a solution is needed to resolve several domestic or foreign issues, and there is a possibility that the prime minister or myself are busy, I will ask Hishammuddin to represent the Malaysian government, not to represent us personally to undertake several efforts.
In the 20-minute meeting, Ahmad Zahid said he and Hishammuddin discussed several tasks including to strengthen the national leadership and party institutions, and other tasks would be discussed from time to time including issues which were outside the scope of work of the Defence Ministry.
Refuting the negative speculation made by several parties between him and Hishammuddin, Ahmad Zahid pointed out that he would give his cooperation and support to Hishammuddin to discharge his new responsibility and was confident that it would help the prime minister in strengthening the leadership institution.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said the courtesy call proved the close ties between him and Ahmad Zahid and admitted that he was ‘very comfortable’ to work together under his new portfolio.
“This courtesy call is according to tradition and my respect for the Deputy Prime Minister. This is important to show to the public the close relations that had been developed all this while and could strengthen the additional tasks entrusted to me, as well as to assist in thinking for the party and agenda at the government level.
“This is not rhetoric or play acting. I sincerely and honestly state that my relationship with Zahid is most comfortable and I am looking forward to work with him under my new portfolio,” he said.
Regarding his function to assist the Prime Minister in monitoring security in Sabah and the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom), Hishammuddin said he had a role to complement the existing task. – BERNAMA