PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The top decision-making council of Malaysia's biggest ruling party Umno is to meet later on Thursday (Oct 29), sources say.
Umno will convene a special meeting of the supreme council just days after it announced continued support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
Umno is the biggest party, with 39 MPs out of the 113, in PN. The second biggest in the 13-party PN is Prime Minister Muhyddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, with 31 lawmakers.
Sources in Umno confirmed that they were informed of the meeting, which will be held at its headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm.
They are, however, unsure of the agenda of the meeting.
"I'm not sure what is the agenda... will only know later at the meeting," a source told The Star.
But it is believed the special meeting has been called to discuss the possibility of the deputy prime ministership being given to Umno, a post it has been pushing for to remain loyal to PN.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin's eight-month-old government has four senior ministers, but no deputy PM.
The meeting is also being convened a day after the Malaysian King called on the 222 federal lawmakers to "give fulsome support" for the upcoming Budget that is set to be tabled in Parliament on Nov 6.
The palace issued the statement after the Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah met PM Muhyiddin on Wednesday morning to receive a briefing on the crucial supply Bill.
"Sultan Abdullah calls on MPs to respect His Majesty's advice to cease all political quarrels and instead prioritise the public welfare and national prosperity to ensure Budget 2021 is passed without disturbance," said Royal Comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin in the statement.
The King had on Sunday rejected Mr Muhyiddin's controversial request for emergency powers, an embarrassing setback for the Premier who governs with a slim majority that is being threatened by rival parties.
Meanwhile, another source said Umno was doing a headcount on how many supreme council members would be able to attend the meeting.
"If not many can do so, meeting will have to be postponed," said the source.
Umno Online, the party's website, puts the number of supreme council members at 59. They consist of the president and other top office bearers to those elected and nominated to the top council of the party with 3 million members.
The Umno supreme council, which met on Monday (Oct 26), has rejected the idea of supporting either opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party.
Meanwhile, Malaysiakini news site said a key agenda in the meeting would be Umno's terms to continue cooperation with PN, including its pick of a leader as deputy PM.
Quoting Umno sources, Malaysiakini said three names being considered for the deputy PM's post are Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, vice-president and Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, or a Johor division chief and Foreign Affairs Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.