PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled his Cabinet on Monday (Mar 9), naming four senior ministers in lieu of a deputy premier.
Among the four are Mr Azmin Ali, representing a bloc of 11 Members of Parliament who quit Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). He will be responsible for international trade and industry issues.
Mr Ismail Sabri Yaakob from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) will be the senior minister overseeing defence, while Mr Fadillah Yusof from Gabungan Parti Sarawak will the senior minister in-charge of the works ministry.
Senator Mohd Radzi Md Jidin from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) will be senior minister responsible for education.
The selection of the four senior ministers will ensure that matters related to the economy, security, infrastructure development, as well as education and social affairs can be coordinated effectively between different ministries, Mr Muhyiddin said in a press conference.
“In short, I want to form a Cabinet that can truly provide the best services to the people – a cabinet that delivers.
“The senior ministers will assist me in carrying out duties as the prime minister, including chairing the Cabinet meetings when I am out of the country. With these senior ministers, there is no need at the moment to select a deputy prime minister,” he said.
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Mr Muhyiddin was appointed by the king to the top government post after an intense week of power struggle in Putrajaya, which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
He had earlier pulled Bersatu out of the PH and worked with UMNO, which was ousted from federal power in the last general election, and several other parties to form a new alliance.
The much-anticipated Cabinet list, announced a week after Mr Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister on Mar 1, also has Mr Hishammuddin Hussein from UMNO as Foreign Minister.
He was formerly the defence minister under the Najib Razak administration. Mr Hishammuddin, the son of Malaysia’s third prime minister, is a cousin of Najib.
CIMB Group CEO Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has been picked for the finance portfolio. He will be appointed as a senator.
UMNO’s Dr Adham Baba has been named as Health Minister.
FAMILIAR FACES IN THE LINE-UP
Mr Muhyiddin’s Cabinet has several familiar faces.
UMNO’s Mr Khairy Jamaluddin, who served as youth and sports minister under the Najib administration, is now the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.
Malaysian Chinese Association president Wee Ka Siong has been assigned the transport portfolio, while Mr Mustapa Mohamed of UMNO is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of the economy.
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Mdm Zuraidah Kamaruddin, who left PKR with Mr Azmin, retained her portfolio as Housing and Local Government Minister.
In his address, Mr Muhyiddin explained that several ministries will be restructured or created.
There will now be a Higher Education Ministry, to be helmed by UMNO’s Dr Noraini Ahmad, and a National Unity Ministry with UMNO’s Mdm Halimah Mohamed Sadique as minister.
Mr Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, deputy president of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, will lead the Environment Ministry.
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Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Dr Maximus Ongkili has been named Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of Sabah and Sarawak issues.
“My Cabinet will ensure that the spirit of Malaysia Agreement 1963 will be translated into policies and programmes that directly benefits the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” Mr Muhyiddin said.