Slim chance for Umno, Pas presidents to get ministerial posts in Muhyiddin’s cabinet

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Malaysia’s new Perikatan Nasional (PN) cabinet line-up will be announced next week and analysts predict that the Umno and Pas presidents – Zahid Hamidi and Hadi Awang – are unlikely to be given ministerial positions.

This is because Muhyiddin Yassin will want to be seen as walking the talk, having promised a cabinet with integrity and clean governance in his inaugural speech as the Prime Minister.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst [and Aliran honorary secretary] Azmil Tayeb said if Umno had truly learnt its lesson in the last general election, it would not push for leaders who were “perceived to be tainted” to hold any cabinet posts.

He said it was also important for Muhyiddin to reassure Malaysians who perceive PN as Malay-centric since it comprises bumi-based parties except for the three MPs from the MCA and the MIC.

“Muhyiddin has a huge task to bridge that gap (between races) and convince the public that this is not Barisan Nasional 2.0, ” said Azmil, a senior lecturer with USM’s School of Social Sciences.

He added that the main accusation by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pakatan Harapan that Muhyiddin had joined hands with Umno “kleptocrats” would also weigh heavily on the eighth prime minister.

This is mainly when he decides on the possible candidates from Umno, despite them having much experience as Barisan Nasional ministers.

But Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan said it was unfair to only point to Umno whenever the term “tainted leaders” is bandied about in politics. “We are not prophets who can be completely clean. Nevertheless, we leave it to the prerogative of the prime minister to choose his cabinet, ” said Mohamad.

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Azmil said Muhyiddin showed he had the upper hand when Zahid had to contend with a contempt of court warning on the first day Muhyiddin clocked into office. The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office that there was no meeting between Zahid and the prime minister was telling.

“It’s obvious that Zahid isn’t being allowed to pull any strings here. It is a conundrum for Muhyiddin – as Umno is the biggest bloc – and if he is really sincere as he said in his speech, he must prove his political will and not appoint any party leader currently being charged in court, even if that person claims he is innocent until proven guilty,” said Azmil.

He also said that as much as Pas offered a wide array of professionals and technocrats for cabinet posts, Muhyiddin must ensure that those from the party could be ministers for all races and religions. “They may be western-educated but still harbour theological ideas, which can create problems if they were to push their Islamist agendas in public,” said Azmil….

Source: The Star

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