There are a few surprises in Abdullah Badawi's new cabinet:
- Khairy Jamaluddin (Abdullah Badawi's son in law) was not appointed into the cabinet - whilst, in the past few weeks, he was touted to be a appointed a minister. He wasnt appointed possibly to hush Abdullah Badawi's critics of him practicing nepotism. Khairy has also been keeping a deafening silence since last week despite controversial political issues arising. Everyone is curious to know whats brewing on the 4th floor ? Read more here and here.
- Mukhriz Mahathir (Mahathir Mohamad's son) was also not given any cabinet posts (are we surprised ?) - he recently wrote a letter to Ahmad Badawi asking him to resign as PM. Lets see what will happen to him once UMNO youth takes the appropriate action against him. Read more here and here.
- Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Kelantan Prince, MP for Gua Musang, former finance minister and arch rival of former Prime Minster, Mahathir Mohamad) was also not re-appointed to the cabinet (any surprises ?) - his recent controversial letter to all the UMNO division leaders was seen as a challenge to Abdullah Badawi's leadership. Will this veteran UMNO politician make a yet another bid for the UMNO presidency in the coming UMNO elections ?. Read more here and here.
- Chua Jui Meng (former Health Minister and MCA vice president) - despite many people's speculation that he would be made Senator and be reappointed into the cabinet; this didnt happen. Whilst many view him as considerably more credible than most MCA leaders, he was nevertheless dropped from the list of MCA candidates in the recent general election. It will be interesting to see if he makes a second bid for the MCA presidency in the coming MCA elections. Read more here.
- S. Subramaniam (former deputy president of MIC) - do not confuse this Subramaniam with the newly appointed minister of Human Resources also by the same name. The former deputy president of MIC was speculated to be made a minister (via a Senatorship) as the other senior MIC leaders have lost their seats in the recent general elections and have declined appointment to the cabinet. Read more here.
- M. Kayveas (president of PPP and former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department) - He lost PPP's sole parliamentary seat in the recent general election and now PPP has no parliamentary seat and no representation in the cabinet. Read more here.
Surprising new appointees
- Zaid Ibrahim (a lawyer and founding partner of Malaysia's largest law firm) was made a Senator and appointed as minister in the Prime Minister's Department - he is seen as a good and moderate UMNO guy, and has the balls to speak his mind. He is not the usual "ampu bodek" and "kuching kurap" kind of BN politician; he doesnt have to, because he already has the money and professional credibility. Read more here and here.
- Amirsham Aziz (former president and CEO Maybank for 20 years) was also made a Senator and appointed as minister in the Prime Minister's Department heading the Economic Planning Unit - he is seen as serious and respected banker and thus should be good for this department. Read more here.
- Shahrir Abdul Samad (MP for Johor Bahru, former chairman of the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club, former minister) was appointed minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs - Shahrir Abdul Samad was finally re-appointment to the cabinet after a long absence. This is an UMNO politician who is also seen as clean and has the balls to speak up. He is one of those politicians who has got class. Read more here and here.
- Muhammad Mohd Taib (controversial former Selangor Menteri Besar) was appointed minister of Rural & Regional Development. Whilst he did not stand as a candidate in the recent general election (as the recent past Selangor Menteri Besar, Khir Toyo did not include him in the list of candidates), he is now politically revived by being appointed a minister via a Senatorship.
- Rafidah Aziz - despite all the bad publicity she had in recent years, she did do a good job at MITI for so many years. Goodbye Kak Pidah !.Read more here.
- Samy Vellu - he has indicated that he doesnt wish to be reappointed into the cabinet (did he read the writings on the wall ?). Lets see if he does make a political comeback; he is known to be a very resilient politician. Read more here.
- Dr. Koh Tsu Koon (President of Gerakan and former Chief Minister of Penang) - He stood for a parliamentary seat in the recent general election and lost. Whilst he has indicated that he doesnt wish to be appointed to the cabinet, many were speculating that the PM might nevertheless still appoint him to a position in the cabinet by first appointing a him Senator.Remember that despite losing in the election, he is still a very respected Chinese politician in Malaysia. This is thus not the end for him. Read more here.
While all this is going on, Anwar Ibrahim is busy trying to get BN's elected MPs to crossover to the opposition (which only needs 30 more MPs to form a new federal government). Lets see what happens next...
Ok. So what do you think ? happy with the new cabinet lineup ? Please post your comments.