Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the latest statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has refuted rumours that Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will be appointed as Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister (DPM)
In a statement published today, 11 January, the PMO said that the matter concerning the appointment of a DPM is false news.
The statement also refuted claims that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin requires cancer treatment and clarified that he is healthy.
Earlier this morning, it was reported that Hishammuddin will be made to helm the country's second top post as early as this week
"Hisham will be deputy prime minister ASAP," one of the sources told The Malaysian Insight.
Hishammuddin is the Sembrong Member Parliament (MP) under UMNO. He currently does not hold any supreme leadership council position in his party, reported Malay Mail.
He is the son of Tun Hussein Onn — Malaysia's third prime minister — as well as former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak's cousin.
It is understood that Hishammuddin's alleged appointment was Bersatu's attempt to appease UMNO after the latter announced its intention to sever ties with Bersatu
Additionally, on 9 January, Machang MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub officially announced the withdrawal of his support for Muhyiddin and Perikatan Nasional (PN).
His one-man move has caused the PN coalition to lose its 111-seat simple majority. The government of the day currently only holds half of the seats in the Dewan Rakyat.
Two seats are vacant following the passing of Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong and Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman on 2 October 2020 and 16 November 2020 respectively.
Although Hishammuddin's alleged appointment was intended to appease UMNO, The Malaysian Insight reported that the move might also ruffle the feathers with other senior leaders in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, such as PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awan and Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Both leaders were instrumental in the political manoeuvring to topple the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which took place in late February 2020.
With that said, it is learnt that the component parties in PN were not informed about Hishammuddin's DPM appointment
An exclusive report by Sin Chew Daily also quoted sources as saying Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is also being considered for the position.
The sources said a decision has yet to be made between Ismail and Hishammuddin — and that the final say will come from the Prime Minister.
The PMO has since rubbished these claims.
The PN government does not have a DPM — a first in Malaysian history. Instead, it has four senior ministers: