Monday, April 6, 2009

'10 ministers may be dropped from cabinet' - Malaysiakini

Apr 6, 09 1:39pm

Within five days of Najib Abdul Razak’s ascension as prime minister, speculation about the upcoming cabinet reshuffle is already making the rounds.

According to a sources-based report today in the Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily, as many as 10 ministers could be eliminated in the reshuffle:

* Tourism Minister Azalina Othman

* Rural and Regional Development Minister Muhammad Muhd Taib

* Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar

* Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop

* Energy, Water and Communications Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor

* Federal Territories Minister Zulhasnan Rafique

* Foreign Affairs Minister Rais Yatim

* Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek

* Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin

* Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Chuan

The cabinet reshuffle is expected to be held after the by-elections in Bukit Selambau, Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau, to be concluded tomorrow.

Khairy Jamaluddin is widely expected to be made a minister or deputy minister by virtue of his position as the newly-minted Umno Youth chief.

“Sources indicate that Najib may also make unexpected, radical changes to the cabinet, including introducing a new department to address issues faced by the Chinese community,” according to the news report.

“Recently re-elected MIC president S Samy Vellu is unlikely to make a comeback into the cabinet, while Gerakan president and senator Koh Tsu Koon may be handed a ministerial post.”

The Chinese daily also conjectured that Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor may resume his former position as Federal Territories Minister, while former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Jamaluddin Jarjis may be roped in to replace Azalina.

“If Hishammuddin Hussein does not resume his position as Education Minister, then he may replace Rafidah Aziz as International Trade and Industry Minister.

“Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz (right) may replace Rais as Foreign Affairs Minister.

“The chances of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Shafie Apdal being promoted as Defence Minister are also very strong.”

Although the report did not cite reasons for the speculated moves, both Azalina and Muhammad had lost in the recent Umno elections.

Syed Hamid has received much flak over detentions under the Internal Security Act, as well as for police crackdowns on street demonstrations and peaceful assemblies especially over the past year.

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