Friday, April 10, 2009

Cabinet line up: Facing political realities

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!


Anonymous said...

Koh Tsu Koon is nothing but just a glorified office boy as minister of unity. But if Najib has to make him a minister because of BN internal consideration, then fine. Let him be.
But there is no justification to give him anything substantial. He had failed in the leadership test as CM of Penang. The people of Penang soundly ejected him. Doing so, it is an insult to the people of Penang.

Idzan Ismail said...

Dear Chun Wai.

I think 3rd para second last sentence should read Najib has to put things right. Instead of wrong.
My beef with the new Cabinet is why too many senators.
I am sure BN have enough capable MPs to be new Ministers.
Understandable why Koh Tsu Koon and Jamil Khir Baharom are needed.
But the rest?
Wonder why Rais is still in. Isn't he past his shelf-life?
Not bad for a man who burnt his bridges a long time ago still surviving three premiers.
Personally I prefer Ketua Wanita. Ketua Pemuda and Ketua Puteri not be in the cabinet but work on transforming their respective wings.
Guess Shahrizat and Rosnah is in for the women quota.
Much has been said about Khairy but his apprecation of Najib wanting to help him in strengthening Umno is sweet.
Wish Mukhriz well and hope he lived up to his dad's name and image.
I dare not venture to say it's daddy's influence he got the post.
But I thnk he is the solution to part of a problem.
Najib earned the silence of Tun M.
The cabinet is a signal by Najib to show that losers (Mukhriz and Rais), winners (Khairy)and didn't contest MT (Nazri) have roles to play.
His message is in future there should not be intense politicking and rivalry in the Umno race because winners do not guarantee a higher political notch.

Anonymous said...

Don't know what I would have done if I had been in Koh Tsu Koon's shoes. A man whose picture was torn and stepped on by Umno Penang leaders is now a Minister trhough the back door.

And during the campaign last february, I remember him saying he does not want to be a minister through a senatship.

Will the same Umno leaders now kiss his hands or will Dr Koh shake their hands?

I hope PKR, IF at all it comes to power, will change the clause ijn our Constitution alllowing Senators to hold ministerial posts.

WE DON'T WANT LOSERS LAH, please. Btw, PKR should be happy losers are in Cabinet.


Anonymous said...

Why bother giving KTK any minister position? He does not represent the people of Penang, or any segment of Malaysians, other than his own party members. What unity? He can't even keep his party united. He neither represents the bumis, nor the non-bumis in Penang! Both segments have rejected him. SO how can he unite them?

Anonymous said...

KTK's name, in hokkien sounds liek what Gerakan is going through:
Koh ( sounds like "kor" which means "bitter" )
Tsu ( sounds like "soo", which means "lose" )
Koon ( sounds like the "sleep" ).
That is what Gerakan is going through, and it amazes me that he is actually given a minister position. BN is really short of talent.

Anonymous said...

"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."

Najib is not stupid. Of course he was aware of the realities of a broad coalition right from the beginning. So why did he even bother contemplating a smaller and leaner cabinet.

Baby Shami said...

Dear Datuk,

I certainly dont agree with the term 'peoples Cabinet'
of course it s not.
'Peoples cabinet' s where the cabinet ministers are the people who won in the last general elections.

One thing i dont understand why some of the ministers who lost in the last general elections were appointed as ministers.worst they were appointed as senators first.
So definately this s not the peoples cabinet it s the PM's cabinet!