Malaysia’s New Cabinet Composition

Midst of Traffic, City Centre – The country’s power transition process is already half way through with the appointment of Dato’ Sri Najib’s new cabinet team.

Creation of New Profiles

Prior to the announcement of names, the premier gave a stern reminder that these ministers selected should not rest on their laurels because their work performance shall be assessed by himself for every 6 months. In order to carry out this task, the Unity Affairs and Performance Management unit is formed under the Prime Minister’s Department. This unit which is also meant to mend the socio-political fissures is headed by Gerakan’s Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon.

The establishment of another new portfolio known as the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry is in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of sustainable development (Goal 7: Environmental Sustainability). The MDG is an international effort by governments around the world today to promote development with preservation of greens and environmental resources for the future generation.

Cabinet Composition

The composition of the Cabinet members is an indication of DS Najib’s aspiration to fulfil the demands of Malaysian citizens from all stripes of colours;

    • Firstly is the increased posts or more full Minister post for leaders of MIC, MCA and East Malaysia (SUPP, PPBB, PRS) .
    • Secondly is putting high confidence of appointing a Sabahan (not the usual Peninsular Malaysian) to lead the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
    • Also, the arrangements of  having both Senator A. Kohilan Pillay and Datuk Lee Chee Leong to assist Datuk Anifah Aman under this international ministry depicts the true multi-ethnic nature of Malaysia.

The Young Guns

Although the absence of the UMNO Youth Chief in the cabinet is rather peculiar, DS Najib had recruited its Deputy Datuk Razali Ibrahim as the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports (DS Hishammuddin’s ex portfolio).

The appointment of Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir definitely serves as an atonement for his loss to Khairy Jamaluddin in the UMNO Youth Chief bid. Both figures have their own share of supporters as we have seen in the party elections.

Earlier in the UMNO party elections, Mukhriz was seen great ahead of Khairy during the candidature phase (where the names of candidates were suggested by the 191 of UMNO Divisions from whole of Malaysia, candidates are then voted by UMNO Youth delegates during their assembly).

However, the sudden win by Khairy Jamaluddin has sparked queries and denial by  the UMNO delegates and the general public. Khairy also had a narrow escape from being charged by the UMNO Disciplinary Board which almost cost him his contesting eligibility. Charismatic or not, unfortunately the public’s perception towards Khairy has been impaired till this day. Having Dato’ Mukhriz on board would also revive a modified version of ‘Mahathirism’.

Women Gaining Control

For the first time there are two women representing different ethnic groups filling posts as full ministers  in the cabinet simultanously; Datuk Ng Yen Yen & Dato’ Seri Shahrizat. Even though the glass ceiling barrier still hovers in Malaysian politics, the ‘deadlier species’ are indeed on the rise.

The recruitment and elevation of new ministerial talents may breed a new generation of leadership replacing the old guards like Dato’ Hamid Albar,  Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz or Dato’ Seri Samy Vellu.  Still, it all depends on how  will the  new faces play along with the tunes of party politics.

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