Six new senators were sworn into the Malaysian Lpper House on Tuesday, allowing them to be inducted into the Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday.
The new senators included former CIMB chief executive officer Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who is the new finance minister, and Federal Territories mufti Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who is the de-facto Minister in charge of Islamic Affairs.
This was not the first time the Malaysian government is appointing a non-politician to become a senator before inducting him as a Cabinet minister.
The most prominent example was former second finance minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop. He served for six years in the Cabinet as a senator before running for election in 2008 to continue serving as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the Economic Planning Unit.
Under the Malaysian legislative system, all Bills passed by MPs in the Lower House or Dewan Rakyat, must generally be approved by parliamentarians in the Upper House or Dewan Negara.
Of the maximum of 70 senators that can be appointed in the Upper House, 26 are elected by the 13 state assemblies, with two senators for each state.
The other 44 senators are appointed by the Malaysian King with advice from the government of the day.
The other four men sworn in on Tuesday have also been appointed deputy ministers in various ministries.
Two senators were from the Malaysian Chinese Association.
Lim Ban Hong is the new Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry and Mah Hang Soon is Deputy Education Minister 1.
The other two senators are Barisan Nasional’s executive secretary Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad who is taking up the post of Deputy Environment Minister, and Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal as Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports.
The six senators took their oath in front of Upper House president SA Vigneswaran.
THE STAR (MALAYSIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK