Najib Tun Razak started off wanting a smaller and leaner Cabinet but he had to come to terms with the realities of a broad coalition. The BN with 13 component parties is certainly one big family and the politics of accomodation had to be dealt with. The Pakatan Rakyat, for example, has said it wants to draw up a Shadow Cabinet. That's good as it will be able to check the government more effectively. It would be interesting to see how Anwar Ibrahim intends to allocate the various portfolios.
Najib obviously had to balance the interest of the party and BN and the people. He cannot ignore the demands of BN leaders. He cannot ignore the historical ties of Umno with the MCA and MIC, for example. These two parties would always have a special case, as they have gone through the good and bad times with Umno. The other post-Alliance parties, which formed BN, would obviously be in a different category.
Then, there is the question of Sabah and Sarawak. The two states have become the king makers in Umno elections and in many ways, the lifeline of the BN, as they have delivered the votes. Their lack of representation in the Abdullah Administration almost led to a mutiny but Najib has put things right. The two states deserves a better deal and Najib has done that.
He has tried to experiment with the unconventional approach by picking certain personalities for some positions, such as Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Raja Nong Chik. There were talks earlier that he wanted to bring in technocrats and business personalities but that could not be done. There is talk now of a Council of Economic Advisers.
The appointment of Koh Tsu Koon and Shahrizat Jalil have led to some criticism. Again, the considerations were the representation of women in the Cabinet and the position of Koh as the president of Gerakan. The two would now need to prove that they deserve their appointments as they would be closely watched. Koh, for example, cannot to possibility be handling just KPI (key performances indicators) and unity. His roles need to be better defined.
Note: Thanks to readers who pointed out the mistakes in my blog. Lesson - never, never rush to post a comment!