Tussle Within Unity Gov’t Draws Clammer In Appointing Malaysia’s New Cabinet

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been contending with appeasing the calls made by the coalitions which constitute the unity government. Striking a balance has been the main cause of the slower process of naming the new lineup.

The newly-minted Prime Minister has also to take many considerations into account following his recent statement that the size of the cabinet would shrink to 25 members.

There have been incessant calls from Barisan Nasional as well as from Pakatan Harapan and Sarawak’s GPS to appoint its winning MPs as members of the cabinet for almost two weeks since GE15 was completed.

A tussle has ensued on who will be the second Deputy Prime minister and for the post of Minister of Finance, and taken on ministerial positions.

Instances of these calls have been seen in statements issued by the coalitions recently, as in Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg stating that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) wants to retain four ministerial posts in the new federal Cabinet, the same as in the previous administration.

Commenting on the formation of the new cabinet, former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa reminded the Prime Minister that he should choose cabinet members from Umno according to the party hierarchy.

Anwar’s conundrum is to form a strong foundation of government to address the issues at hand based on mutual consensus of all parties involved.

Nevertheless, Anwar was seen entering Istana Negara at 8.23am this morning under strong speculation that the list of names for the cabinet, or at least a portion of it, is to be presented to the His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He left the Palace approximately an hour later at 9.20am. According to his packed itinerary, he will be granted an audience by Perak’s Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah at 10am at the Istana Kinta in Ipoh.

On the sidelines at an event last night, Anwar confirmed being granted the audience with the Agong, saying discussion of the new cabinet lineup was almost finalsed and expects to make an announcement as early as today (Dec 2) evening.

Anwar’s unity government is made up of Barisan Nasional and the ruling coalitions in Sabah and Sarawak – Gabungan Rakyat Sabah and Gabungan Parti Sarawak. It also has the support of MPs from Muda, Warisan, Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat, and two independents.

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