Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysian PM unveils Cabinet line-up, senior ministers named

Malaysian PM unveils Cabinet line-up, senior ministers named

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Malaysian PM unveils Cabinet line-up, senior ministers named

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled his Cabinet on Monday evening with his own Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Umno dominating the new Perikatan Nasional (PN) lineup without appointing anyone to the hotly contested deputy premiership.

Confirming a report by The Straits Times on Monday morning, the Bersatu president took a leaf out of Singapore and Indonesia’s books, creating four senior minister positions in a move he said would “ensure a functional Cabinet that will deliver service that is more focused”.

“These senior ministers will aid me in my duties as Prime Minister, including chairing Cabinet meetings when I am not in the country. With these senior ministers, there is no current need for a Deputy Prime Minister,” he said, in the announcement carried live on national television.

Former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who joined Bersatu after the party’s exit from Pakatan Harapan (PH) saw the government collapse two weeks ago, was named international trade and industry minister and senior minister in charge of the economy.

Infrastructure development has been handed to Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu vice-president Fadillah Yusof, the most senior MP from Sarawak’s ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), who will also be works minister.

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri was named senior minister in charge of security – defence minister – while Bersatu information chief Radzi Jidin was appointed senior minister of education, coordinating social affairs.

Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, the CEO of CIMB, one of the region’s largest banks, was a surprise choice for finance minister.

Former defence minister and ex-Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein is the new foreign minister.

As indicated by Muhyiddin last week in his maiden address to the nation as prime minister, no politician with ongoing graft charges was appointed to the Cabinet. This included former prime minister Najib Razak, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and its former secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Muhyiddin has faced pressure and scrutiny over the makeup of his government since being controversially sworn in as Prime Minister on March 1, after a week’s political impasse when his party and other defectors left PH, triggering the resignation of then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Critics have attacked the move, which allowed the scandal-tainted and kleptocratic Umno to return to power. It was less than two years ago since it became an opposition party following the shock end of its six-decade rule in the 2018 election.

Concerns have been raised over the potential of a pro-Malay government due to the majority community’s dominance of the PN alliance.

But Muhyiddin’s address last week promising a “clean Cabinet” resulted in backlash from Umno.

Despite Umno’s top figures demurring, second-liner and grassroots leaders have demanded that the largest party in PN be given due recognition, lobbying especially for its president Zahid to be made deputy prime minister.

“To ensure the Cabinet formed is one with integrity, all members that I am announcing have been screened by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and police,” the prime minister said.

Muhyiddin’s Bersatu and Umno dominate the Cabinet lineup with nine ministers each.

GPS and the Islamist party PAS have four and three members respectively. Smaller PN parties such as MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Sabah have one minister each.

Federal Territories Mufti (religious leader) Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri was appointed religious affairs minister.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.