KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced his cabinet of 31 ministers, and for the first time in Malaysian history, no deputy prime minister was named.
The prime minister instead announced the appointment of four senior ministers, namely Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali as International Trade and Industry Minister; Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as Defence Minister; Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof as Works Minister; and Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin as Education Minister.
The announcement was made by Muhyiddin in a special press conference at Perdana Putra here today.
Muhyiddin said these ministers will assist him in coordinating matters of the cabinet related to the economic, security, infrastructure development, and education and social sectors.
The prime minister said that the senior ministers would also be able to coordinate inter-ministry issues more effectively.
“I want to form a cabinet that can really give the best service to the people – a cabinet that delivers.
“The senior ministers will assist me to discharge my duty as the prime minister, including chairing cabinet meetings when I am not in the country.
“With these senior ministers, there is no necessity now to appoint a deputy prime minister,” he said.
He said to ensure a cabinet of integrity, all cabinet members announced had been vetted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM).
Muhyiddin was also seen to have taken an out-of-the-box approach in appointing his cabinet members by not relying solely on politicians in his administration.
This new element is reflected in the appointment of CIMB Group Chief Executive Officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz as Finance Minister and Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs).
The appointment of a technocrat, Tengku Zafrul, is seen as significant as the important portfolio was normally held by a senior minister from the governing party.
Also noteworthy is the return of PAS into the folds of the Federal Government after 42 years with the appointment of its three representatives into the cabinet.
They are Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who was appointed as Minister of the Environment, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law)) and Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities).
Tuan Ibrahim is PAS deputy president, Takiyuddin its secretary-general while Mohd Khairuddin a member of PAS’ Central Working Committee.
Muhyiddin said to meet the current needs, several ministries were restructured including the Education Ministry with the re-establishment of the Higher Education Ministry and the establishment of a new ministry, the Ministry of National Unity.
Also noteworthy is the establishment of the Ministry of Environment (formerly the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) as well as a dedicated portfolio to look after the affairs of Sabah and Sarawak.
The Ministry of Higher Education will be led by Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad while Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique was appointed Minister of National Unity and the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs portfolio will be led by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili.
Muhyiddin also strengthened his cabinet with the presence of former ministers including Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein who took office as Foreign Minister; Khairy Jamaluddin (Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation); and Zuraida Kamaruddin (Minister of Housing and Local Government).
Other former ministers who also took office in Muhyiddin’s cabinet were Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah (Minister of Communications and Multimedia) and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Minister of Defense)
The others are Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (Minister of Home Affairs); Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (Minister of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development); and Datuk Seri Rina Harun (Minister of Women and Family) and Tan Sri Annuar Musa (Minister of Federal Territories).
MCA President Dr Wee Ka Siong was appointed Minister of Transport while MIC deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, Minister of Human Resources.
Meanwhile, the new faces appointed to the cabinet are Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (Minister of Health); Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Minister of Energy and Natural Resources); Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad (Minister of Rural Development);
Other new faces are Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad (Minister of Higher Education); Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi (Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs); Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali (Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities) and Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Minister of National Unity).
Muhyiddin said he realised that the people had high hopes for the government to help resolve their problems, thus his cabinet would be focused on delivery.
“I wish to establish a cabinet that can really provide the best service to the people – a cabinet that delivers,” he said.