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Malaysian Government 2021: Unimpressive, Underperformed Cabinet Lineup

Cabinet Bloomberg Sabri

A snapshot from Bloomberg on Sabri’s “new” cabinet is very damaging because it is an important publication for foreign investors does not look good. One should note keywords like  “old baggage” and “not a promising beginning”. It is an opportunity missed to make a difference. Image source: Twitter

Read these first:-

Cabinet Twitter Sabri

Seriously, didn’t their past track record was taken into consideration when Sabri pondered on his new, fresh cabinet member list? It always comes back to the few who failed miserably. Image source: Twitter

The High Expectation of Real Change

There were hardly any major reforms in law, electoral, economy, unity and education when Barisan Nasional was in power for more than 60 years.

When Pakatan Harapan Government came into power in 2018, there was a rush of expectation that real reforms can finally be implemented. However no thanks to the in-fighting, DAP being made scapegoats and intense propaganda campaign, this did not happen (along with other key election promises) and this Government fell in February 2020 when it lost the support of the other MPs.

Thus it will be unfair to expect that a backdoor Government and its cabinet formed in March 2020 to make real and dynamic changes to the country’s political landscape.

With the ongoing pandemic, the main priority of the Government back then had been to control the COVID19 infection and to ensure timely vaccination. The results todate have been a mixed one with the country still struggling to open up its economy and the infections & deaths registering record numbers.

COVID19 Sabri Cabinet

Frankly speaking, the timing when the back-door Government came into power was not right. The pandemic had started to peak and lockdowns had to be ordered and enforced. However, the SOP in relation to lockdowns was not consistent and sometimes applied with double standards. Then his Minister allowed factories to remain open causing a massive surge in factory clusers. Image source: Twitter

Perhaps this is why this backdoor Government however fell after 17 months in power, only to come back in power again with a new Prime Minister and a fresh expectation of a new, smaller Cabinet that will make a real difference in the administration of the country.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet line-up must have competent people who know their portfolios and work to include all communities in Malaysia, said political analyst Assoc Prof Bridget Welsh.

She said it is critical to have competent candidates in key ministries such as finance, health and social welfare.

“The people appointed must know what they are doing and not necessarily having experience in that position. The issue is rebranding and creating a much more coordinated government.

“Therefore, in this regard, the cabinet needs fewer people but with the right individuals in the right job,” she said on Bernama TV’s Midday Update programme, here, today.

(Source: Malay Mail)

This small, dynamic cabinet is unlikely to happen now or in future until the politicians in power put the interest of the nation first before their personal or their political party interest.

Twitter Khairy

Generally, there is a positive response and acceptance of YB Khairy as the next Health Minister in the new cabinet. Just hope he consults the experts and doesn’t come up with funny solutions like drinking warm water for COVID19. Image source: Twitter

One Good Outcome in Reshuffled Cabinet

When Sabri announced his Cabinet line-up, it remained more or less to be the same with some minor changes here and there. It was nonetheless expected but hugely disappointing.

YB Liew Chin Tong who is MP from DAP wrote on the new cabinet on his Facebook page and this basically summarised the overall reaction of the Sabri’s cabinet in the social media:-

Let’s begin with giving credit where it’s due. Khairy Jamaluddin’s appointment as health minister is certainly the bright spot in the Ismail Sabri cabinet. I wish him well and pray for his success. When he was first tasked to handle vaccination, I called for his appointment as health minister. Without the authority to set agenda for the health ministry, he was set to be failed by the health minister bureaucracy.

Had Muhyiddin been bold enough to appoint Khairy as health minister and to retire Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah in early 2021, Malaysia could have fared much better in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For many people, Hishammuddin Hussein is seen as not doing much and not being effective but I hope he does well as defence minister, bringing with him experiences; hopefully without his past excesses.

Now, Hishammuddin has the opportunity to prioritise the implementation of the Defence White Paper and its auxiliary plans, as well as solving problematic projects during his previous stint such as the littoral combat ships project, which is now in limbo.

Zahid Hamidi, Najib Razak and the UMNO renegades who brought down the Muhyiddin government end up as the biggest losers. Ismail Sabri was able to leave them in the cold, which certainly is a cause for celebration. Only Noh Omar and Noraini Ahmad of the UMNO 15 managed to make it to the list.

Another loser is Azmin Ali. While he is still clinging on to the same portfolio Muhyiddin gave him, it’s not something worth celebrating. He held the senior position of handling the country’s economic affairs under the Pakatan Harapan government but Muhyiddin demoted him to the ministry of international trade and industry after the Sheraton coup.

As the prime mover of the parliamentary coup, Azmin expected to be rewarded with the post of deputy prime minister.
Until a couple of days ago, rumours have it that Azmin was still hoping to become deputy prime minister, or at the least finance minister. But Ismail Sabri has other ideas.

As for Tengku Zafrul Aziz who is retained as the finance minister, I see this as a best among the worst outcome.
He was appointed to allow Muhyiddin to be the de facto finance minister. This means Ismail could control finance via Zafrul in the same manner, which is bad for checks and balances in the cabinet.

However, I would still think that the nation is better off without Azmin as finance minister. Likewise, it is good that the post did not go to any senior UMNO leader, either Mohamad Hassan or Johari Ghani, because it would only be an avenue for UMNO to build its political largesse.

(Source: Facebook)

To be fair YB Khairy did a splendid job heading the vaccination task force and ensured enough supply to boost the number of vaccination effective from June 2021. To boost confidence in the Sinovac vaccine, he opted out of the Pzifer vaccine and waited out to be the first Malaysian to be vaccinated with Sinovac. This is called leadership by example. As of todate, 21 million Malaysians have been registered and of which 19 million already had at least their first dose and this is an impressive number.

Of course, there were shortcomings in the overall vaccination implementation with shortage reported in the earlier months of 2021, the registration screw up for the AstraZeneca vaccines, reports of empty syringes and the tussle with Penang State Government on donated vaccines which ended up as a scam.

Anyway, one is happy that Health Ministry went to YB Khairy who did a remarkable job on the rollout of the COVID19 vaccination.

Cabinet Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal Youth and Sports

How trustworthy a politician is when he puts the race before the nation and then becomes the deputy minister for ministry of national unity? I am a Malay first says the newly minted Deputy Minister for National Unity but then again, don’t forget this is not the first time that you heard politicians saying the same thing. This needs to change. The country must come first no matter the situation. Image source: Twitter

100 Days Performance Target

It is already bad to consider that some of the non-performing Ministers were not dropped and instead appointed to the same Ministries, it was comical when it was announced that there will be an assessment after 100 days:-

All government ministries must prove the success of their short-term targets within 100 days following the announcement of a new Cabinet line-up by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today.

He also said the Cabinet will be results-oriented based on three principles, namely being sensitive to the needs of the people, responsible and trustworthy and restoring the people’s confidence.

“I will ensure this Cabinet emphasises on a high-performance work culture. Therefore, each ministry is required to make short-term and long-term planning and achieve said targets.

“For that, each ministry needs to prove its initial achievement within the first 100 days,” he said during a televised announcement today.

(Source: Malay Mail)

It is comical because the same non-performing politicians have been heading the same Ministries for the past 17 months. Some even made things worst. Then what difference it will make if it is another 100 days? If these politicians can indeed perform, you would have seen it obviously in the past 17 months.

DAP Cabinet Twitter

Frankly speaking, Pakatan Harapan had a better quality of Ministers but it got screwed up by the Old Man and hidden agendas by the various parties who did not believe that they lost power after 61 years. Image source: Twitter

In comparison, just judge the performance of some DAP politicians like Anthony Loke, Gobind Singh and Yeoh Bee Yin when Pakatan Harapan was in power (although others like Teresa Kok screwed up). They did not have past federal level administration experience but from the very first day they reported to duty at the respective ministries, they get down working, embracing the issues & challenges and the outcome results are obvious (although not necessarily popular).

Then there is the question of KPI from which these Ministers would be judged after 100 days. It is not clearly defined, not open for scrutiny and may be very subjective or open-ended. In other words, nothing is going to happen after 100 days and probably told to reduce the criticisms that are flying in the social media and in the mainstream media.

Sabri Cabinet 100 days

This is comical indeed – when one failed after 17 months, what is the criteria to extend the assessment for another 100 days? It does not show the Prime Minister is serious enough to get the right people to assist him to run the country considering that it is the same people being assessed. Image source: Twitter

Final Say

One should not expect any major changes until the next General elections in July 2023 and that is two more years to go. In fact, one can expect the same or worst performance from these politicians in the cabinet, considering their 17 months track record to date. It will indeed be a bonus if some of the reshuffled or newly appointed cabinet Ministers do put their heart and mind into getting the best for the people.

Further considering that Sabri’s Government is formed with a slim number of support of only 9 MPs – 114 MPs supporting Sabri (some conditionally) against 105 MPs firmly supporting Anwar, it is likely that Sabri will be spending more time consolidating the support for him. There will not be any drastic changes that may cause this slim support to him to be withdrawn.

Just hope he does not make a blunder of appointing anyone to his cabinet for redundant and useless positions like special envoy to the Middle East with Minister level salary which basically does the same job as our Middle East ambassadors. It is basically taxpayers money down the drain.

Cabinet Pakatan Harapan Big Tent

Pakatan Harapan has a better chance to make real changes for the best interest of the country as it is not made up by race-based component political parties. However, they must address the elephant in the room – what is next after Anwar? Image source: Twitter

If the voters do not forget who betrayed their trust, who screwed their positions for personal gains and at the same time, Pakatan Harapan gets their acts together, it is likely they will regain the Government that they lost so unfairly to renegade politicians in 2020.

Sex scandal laden Anwar probably have to let go of his ambition to be the next PM and young vibrant leaders need to be appointed to spearhead the tasks to regain voters’ confidence. DAP needs to get more Malays to take up leadership positions to dispel the notion that it is a Chinese based political party.

Until then, one has to open to the notion of incompetence, wasteful and focus on political party affairs in the same manner as the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.

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