Is there anything worthwhile to say about the new Cabinet? Hmmm, I think really not, but I'll nevertheless air some observations, just to participate, you know!
I see essentially the same faces, though it's a relief that Shafie Salleh, the previous Minister of Higher Education, has been booted out! He belongs to what I had called Malaysia’s 'Don’t Know' Gang. Now, he doesn't ever have to make that ministerially unseemly response to public queries.
I am a bit, no, very much disappointed that the PM holds 2 other portfolios, namely Internal Security and Finance. How can one man perform effectively in 3 roles? I may just about understand - and then, very very grudgingly - his hanging on to Finance, which would still add a fairly unacceptable burden on a PM. As national leader, he ought to be vision-ising, strategising, directing, coordinating and calling for accountability from each members of the Cabinet instead of running those ministries himself.
But to hang on additionally to Internal Security in a supposedly democracy like Malaysia? But then again, it 'is' Malaysia so no answer required, thank you!
Still, with the PM himself cornering 3 portfolios, his Cabinet remains enormously large against the urgings of the public. It's properly the largest in the world, by Population ratio. Another item for Malaysia's Book of Records? The irony is his large Cabinet, admittedly a carry-over from Mahathir's days, hasn't been proportionately effective or efficient.
One may wonder why there are so many deputy ministers in any one Ministry? Then, there are those 'Ministers in the PM's Department', whose very titles sound like a bad joke, as if there isn't any place or ministry to place them, which actually happens to be the truth! Maybe the PM ought to change that title to, say, 'Minister with Special Functions', or ‘Minister for Extraordinary Projects’. These grandiose titles may just confuse the public about the ministers’ relevance at least until after the next general election.
OK, that has been a rhetorical question because we all know that the old man is cutting, wheeling and dealing, and keeping those greedy component parties as well as his UMNO factions all happy, naturally at humongous public expense.
But for him, it has all been worth it if you only read the obsequious expressions of gratitude from those lucky new ministers and deputies, and some old ones as well. Their effusive thank you's will last Pak Lah for ten thousand years.
Wan suoi, wan wan suoi! - 10,000 years to your reign! Dirgahayu!