Shahrir Denies Fallout With Najib

(Bernama) – Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad today dismissed the assumption that he is resigning from the Cabinet because of a fall out with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"It's not true… the government must be represented by party leaders, so only those who are party leaders are qualified to be in the government and secondly, it is the prime minister's prerogatve to appoint his people (to the cabinet)," he told reporters after launching the Buy Malaysian Goods campaign at the LRT station here.

Last week, Shahrir, who is also Johor Baharu Umno division head, tendered his resignation as cabinet minister effective this Wednesday (8 April) after failing to retain his Umno supreme council seat in the party elections last month.

Asked whether he would accept any government post if offered, he said he would consider any possibility.

"For me, it's okay if there is or there isn't (a post)…people like me in the party must be prepared to accept any post, not only that in the cabinet," he said.

He said he expected Najib to announce more newcomers in his cabinet line-up. "As we can see, the supreme council elections favoured newcomers and even in Umno after the last general election, there were changes among the division heads," he said.

He also discounted the possibility of Umno becoming disunited if the old guards were dropped from the cabinet line-up, saying that disunity was caused by factionalism within a party and he did not see any factions now that could undermine the party.

"Previously, under the leadership of (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, there were (factions by) Tengku Razaleigh (Hamzah),(Tun) Musa Hitam, (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim but now there isn't any, there's no potential for groups in Umno to oppose the leadership.

Shahir said that although he was resigning his cabinet post he would continue as Johor Baharu MP and would work with several non-governmental organisations on programmes to ensure that the people's views and aspirations were given attention.

He said he would be starting a musical programme called Radio Rosak on April 25 besides getting a violin player to give violin lessons to young people in Johor Baharu.

He would also set up a breast cancer examination centre to help women in early detection of the disease.