Choon Mei Wong
PETALING JAYA: Umno information chief Isham Jalil has cautioned against significantly reducing the size of the Cabinet, saying it could burden each minister with too many responsibilities.
According to Astro Awani, Isham said the optimal size of the Cabinet was 28 ministers as a lower number of ministerial positions would mean merging several ministries.
He said this would cause difficulties for each ministry to function given the heavier burden of responsibilities.
Isham said that according to Malaysia’s legislation system, ministers had discretionary powers when it came to secondary legislation, which are laws created by ministers under powers given to them by an Act of Parliament.
“If we place too much authority or jurisdiction in one minister due to the merger of ministries, the checks and balances (on their authority) will no longer be effective,” he was quoted as saying.
He said it was pointless to reduce the number of ministers when the number of civil servants remained the same.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly expressed a desire to reduce the size of the Cabinet.
The previous Cabinet under Ismail Sabri Yaakob had 31 ministers, who were assisted by 38 deputy ministers. FMT
PETALING JAYA: An academic has cautioned Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim against giving Cabinet posts to former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and former senior minister Hishammuddin Hussein, saying it would be politically unwise.
Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said appointing the two Umno members would upset Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Pakatan Harapan leaders since both had rejected PH.
He noted that both Ismail and Hishammuddin had made clear before the formation of Anwar’s unity government that they did not want Barisan Nasional to work with PH.
“The prime minister does not need to consider their feelings when forming his Cabinet because he needs to keep Umno in his government. This entails working together with Zahid and his allies.”
Yesterday, a source told FMT the Anwar Cabinet would exclude Hishammuddin and Ismail despite their vast experience in government because of their opposition to cooperation between BN and PH.
Another academic, Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University, said it was still up to Umno’s top leadership or any party in the unity government to propose who among their MPs should be in the Cabinet.
“If Umno wants Hishammuddin and Ismail, I don’t think Anwar will reject them,” he said.
“But if they do not want to appoint those two, why should Anwar risk a crack in his government over two out of 30 MPs from BN?”
Anwar is expected to name his Cabinet line-up this week.
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