I have had enough of plus size jokes – no, Mr Editor, I won’t get into trouble with being politically incorrect about body shaming and such like. I have also had enough with jokes about the nation’s kitchen needing a new cabinet.
Now, a little after 5 pm on a rainy Saturday evening, our new and invigorated country has got more than just its kitchen remodeled; we have the seeds of a brand new, refreshed and capable CABINET!
PKR and DAP will get the lion’s share of 3 portfolios each, while the Bersatu and Amanah will be awarded 2 cabinet positions each
We had a hint of what was coming when Prime Minister (yes, we are the country rightly regarded as the most environmentally-friendly nation on earth as we even re-cycle our PM - eat your heart out The Donald!) let out that he had a formula 3-3-2-2.
NO! Not the tactic which neither Liverpool nor Read Madrid will employ when they meet to decide the European Champions League trophy later this month. YES! It is the composition of ministers from the winning coalition of parties that finally brought down the curtains to more than 60-year rule of the BN.
PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat or PKR) and the DAP (Democratic Action Party or DAP) will get the lion’s share of 3 portfolios each, while the PBBM (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Bersatu) and PAN (Parti Amanah Negara or Amanah) will be awarded 2 cabinet positions each.
From composition to size – just 10 ministries comprising finance, home, education, defence, rural development, foreign affairs, public works, transport, economy and finally; multimedia and science.
Late on Saturday evening, Tun M announced the first three appointments – that of Lim Guan Eng (DAP) as Finance Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Bersatu) at the Home Ministry and Mohamad Sabu (Amanah) taking care of Defence. The remaining four Ministers will be announced later.
With the positions of PM (Tun M of PBBM) and DPM (Tan Sri Wan Azizah of PKR) already filled – that trims down the 3-3-2-2 cabinet composition formula to the ratio of 3-2-1-1 that remains to be filled.
For the first time a panel of five respected personalities was also appointed to perform the role of eminent advisors
Interestingly, for the first time a panel of five respected personalities was also appointed to perform the role of eminent advisors. Already memes and clever trolls are flooding the internet about the force if not psychic powers these individuals possess and will be ready to wield if not the technical inputs they will provide.
They do not come more eminent than former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas President Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Merican, economist Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram and prominent businessman Tan Sri Robert Kuok.
The Pakatan coalition contested GE14 on the manifesto that they would govern with less bureaucracy in terms of cabinet size that had bloated to; at last count was up to 68 ministers and deputy ministers of the BN-led 13th parliament.
Under the previous model of governance and administration, a cabinet carrot was the prized position to reward component parties and keep them loyal.
The Prime Minister’s Department under the defeated BN administration comprised several Ministers and their coterie of Deputy Ministers. Often times, the cabinet portfolio strays into each other's territory and overlaps resulting in a game of pass-the-buck and nothing gets done.
As for the 14th parliament, we await the coming days for the remainder of the cabinet positions to be filled.
One of Pakatan’s promise is to trim the excess flab of the civil service which bloated in size as it was seen as a vote-bank by the Barisan. With the glow of support hovering over cabinet meetings from Monday onwards, the Force will indeed Be With Us, Malaysia.