Thursday, May 16, 2013

Najib: New Cabinet a mix of experience and fresh faces

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak described his new Cabinet as a delicate balance of experienced hands and fresh blood, with a number of technocrats in the mix.

But the line-up was also based on a simple formula those who delivered were rewarded and those who didn't got nothing.

The biggest beneficiaries were the Sabahans and Sarawakians.

The Prime Minister rewarded the loyalty of voters in the two states handsomely, doubling their number of Cabinet members from six to 12.

They now make up more than a third of the 32-member Cabinet.

Of the eight ministers in the Prime Minister's Department, three are from Sabah and Sarawak, namely Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Nancy Shukri andDatuk Joseph Entulu Belaun.

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Anifah Aman are joined by a third Sabah Umno minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who holds the newly formed Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government portfolio.

The Indian community, which showed strong support for the ruling coalition, was also amply rewarded.

MIC, which won four parliament seats at the 13th general election to equal its tally prior to the polls, maintained two Cabinet positions.

Party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel was appointed Minister of Natural Resources and Environment while deputy president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam was made Health Minister.

It also retained two deputy minister posts, with the appointment of Hulu Selangor MP

P. Kamalanathan (Education) and Tapah MP and party vice-president Datuk M. Saravanan (Youth and Sports).

As a bonus, the community received two extra deputy ministers. Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan from PPP was appointed Federal Territories Deputy Minister while Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy became Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Heeding the call for a stronger resolve to fight corruption, Najib picked Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Low has a reputation as an anti-graft campaigner who does not pull his punches in his criticisms.

To tackle crime, Najib placed Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the new Home Minister in a direct swap with Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein who takes over the Defence portfolio.

The appointment of the no-nonsense Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi just a day after Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar became the new Inspector- General of Police is expected to increase the momentum in the fight against crime.

Women were also represented in the line-up. Nancy Shukri and Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim were appointed as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department and Women, Family and Community Development Minister respectively. Five others were made deputy ministers.

The biggest losers were MCA and Gerakan. Both got nothing after their dismal showing in the polls.

For the first time since the formation of the Alliance in 1957, the MCA has been left out completely from the Federal Government.

Hishammuddin is acting Minister of Transport, a portfolio traditionally held by MCA.

Gerakan did not get a Cabinet seat for the first time since Barisan was formed in 1974.

Another loser was Selangor Umno which failed to deliver the state.

The sole Selangor Umno Minister, Datuk Seri Noh Omar, was left out of the Cabinet although he retained his Tanjung Karang parliamentary seat.

Selangor Umno's sole representative in the administration is Plantation Industry and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon.

While he doesn't have a magic wand to achieve his goals for the country, Najib has put together what looks like a credible and capable team to continue his transformation agenda.

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