Who's in, who's out

Who's in, who's out
PHOTO: The Star/ANN, Reuters

New DPM: Political survivor takes a step up

The promotion of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to the post of Deputy Prime Minister is a testimony to his resilience.

The 62-year-old is a come- back politician who survived a brief detention under the now- abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) to rise to a position a heartbeat away from the prime ministership.

Not bad for a man who once served as the political secretary to Prime Minister Najib Razak from 1987 to 1993.

A former ally of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Mr Zahid was arrested under the ISA for allegedly supporting Anwar's Reformasi - or Reform - movement in 1998.

Mr Zahid also spoke out against then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that same year, calling for an end to cronyism and nepotism in the Malaysian government.

After his release from prison, Mr Zahid was left out in the political wilderness for several years until then Premier Abdullah Badawi picked him as deputy tourism minister in 2004.

From then on, there was no stopping this former banker of OCBC. He was appointed defence minister in 2009 and home minister in 2013, both important positions in the Malaysian Cabinet.

He has also attracted controversy - people either love or hate the politician.

As Home Minister, he suspended in 2013 the screening of Malaysian-made movie The New Village, saying it portrayed the Malayan Communist Party in a too-positive light.

Meanwhile, he allowed another controversial movie, Tanda Putera, or Mark Of A Prince, to be shown despite complaints that it inaccurately and negatively portrayed Chinese Malaysians in the 1969 racial riots.

Following the 13th Malaysian General Election in 2013, he responded to allegations of electoral fraud by reportedly saying that Malaysians who were unhappy with the political system should leave the country.

In the past few years, Mr Zahid has also defended tough action against illegal workers, amid complaints the foreigners were being treated like criminals.

In the 2013 Umno party polls, Mr Zahid garnered the most votes in the contest for the three vice-president posts.

He first became a Member of Parliament in 1995 after winning the Bagan Datoh parliamentary seat in Perak in the general election. The following year, he was elected as Umno Youth chief.

Outgoing DPM: Muhyiddin still holds powerful Umno post

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, 68, may have been ousted as Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister but he remains deputy president of Umno, a powerful post he won uncontested in 2013.

His outspoken speech on Sunday, when he urged his boss to explain allegations in The Wall Street Journal about US$700 million (S$960 million) deposited into the latter's personal accounts, surprised many members with its directness.

He explained that he wanted to warn members of the danger of not explaining the issue clearly to voters.

Mr Muhyiddin said that, while he had always been supportive of Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership, he held a different view when it came to state- owned investment agency 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

"In the 1MDB issue, I have principles and my own stand in defending the rights of the public, the good name of the party, and the national interest," said Mr Muhyiddin yesterday after he was sacked by Datuk Seri Najib.

He told reporters yesterday that he would answer today all questions regarding his sacking and his future.

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