PEKAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Sunday expressed his gratitude to the people and to the ruling Barisan Nasional's (BN) dominant party Umno for their acceptance of the recent Cabinet reshuffle.
He also thanked former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek, former Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and others who had been dropped from the Cabinet for their continued commitment to the party.
"Although they are no longer with the administration, I am thankful to them for expressing their loyalty to Umno. With the completion of this process, we can now move forward," he said at his Hari Raya open house in Pahang on Sunday.
Tens of thousands of people attended Najib's open house in his home constituency of Pekan in Pahang on Sunday.
Also present were Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Najib last week shocked many when he announced the sacking of senior party leaders including Muhyiddin and Shafie Apdal as part of his Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday.
The reshuffle came as the Prime Minister has come under heavy criticism from members of his party and the public for his handling of the allegations of abuse of public funds linked to troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Muhyiddin's ouster came just days after the former deputy premier was seen in a leaked video recounting a conversation and alleging that Najib had admitted to having US$700 million (S$962 million) in 1MDB funds deposited into his account.
The clip with poor audio showed Muhyiddin saying: "This is what he (PM Najib) said. He admitted. So I said: Why did you put into your personal account?"
At a speech at an Umno annual general meeting in Malacca on Saturday, Najib also said issues surrounding 1MDB did not necessarily spell the "end of the world" for BN and Umno.
Najib, who is also the BN chairman and Umno president, said the country had been focused on detrimental issues but it was time to strengthen unity and concentrate on the people's welfare.
"I will not be distracted by the issues, which were portrayed as if everything surrounding us is going to collapse," he said when opening the meeting.
"Putting food on the table and providing a better quality of life for the people is more important to me," he said.
Najib also said those who supported the party's struggles shouldn't do it for the "Najib factor" but for a stronger Umno. Backing the party should be their first priority, not idolising leaders, he added.
"So when deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he is still loyal to the party, I accept him, wholeheartedly," he added.