Friday, August 27, 2021

The new Cabinet: Winners and Losers

The new Cabinet: Winners and Losers

Khairy Jamaluddin swapped ministries with Adham Baba while Noraini Ahmad got back her portfolio which she quit from. But Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, who also quit, is out in the cold.

PETALING JAYA: After a week of anticipation, prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob unveiled his cabinet line-up, which features many of the same faces as that of his predecessor.

Here’s a look at the biggest winners and losers after today’s announcement.


Khairy Jamaluddin

Formerly the science, technology and innovation minister (MOSTI) and Malaysia’s vaccine tsar, his new health portfolio will likely be viewed as a promotion. Given the health ministry’s role in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, the added responsibility could be a sign of Ismail’s confidence in his abilities.

Under his stewardship, the country saw its vaccination rate soar to world beating heights, and given his success, it’s unlikely the reins will be passed to anyone else.

Annuar Musa

Having held the top spot at the federal territories ministry, Annuar now gets his biggest role to date as the communications and multimedia minister. This ministry is viewed as crucial for the government to highlight its successes and also keep an eye on the active social media.

His predecessor, Saifuddin Abdullah, was shifted to the foreign affairs ministry to replace Hishammuddin Hussein.

Ahmad Faizal Azumu

Might be the biggest winner. After being ousted as Perak menteri besar in December and his shortlived 11-day stint as a ministerial level adviser to Muhyiddin, Ahmad Faizal’s appointment as youth and sports minister represents a reversal of fortunes for the Bersatu deputy president.

Noraini Ahmad

Having resigned from her higher education minister’s post following Umno’s withdrawal from the government earlier this month, she was lauded by many in the party and among the grassroots for toeing the party line.

While Ismail was one the most prominent Umno leaders to stick by then-prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, this hasn’t stopped him from bringing her back now that he has ascended to the premiership.


The Islamist party now controls the Prime Minister’s Department (religious affairs), holding both the minister and deputy minister’s positions.

Ahmad Marzuk Shaary held onto his spot as deputy minister, while independent senator Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri was replaced by his fellow Dewan Negara member Idris Ahmad.


Dr Adham Baba

In a straight swap with Khairy, Adham will take over at MOSTI in what many will view as a demotion.

The Umno man has been roundly criticised for a number of gaffes during his tenure, such as asserting Covid-19 could be warded off with warm water during the pandemic’s early stages and mixing up “Spanish fly” (an aphrodisiac) with “Spanish flu” (a pandemic that began in 1918 that killed close to 50 million people).

Shamsul Anuar Nasarah

Unfortunately for Noraini Ahmad’s party mate, things have not panned out so well as it did for the higher education minister.

Shamsul was the first Umno minister to step down following the supreme council’s decision, but unlike Noraini he was not given back his post at the energy and natural resources ministry.

In fact, he’s been left out of the Cabinet entirely.

Zuraida Kamaradurrin

The two-time Housing and Local Government Minister has been reassigned to the plantation industries and commodities ministry, with her old role filled by Umno’s Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

Like Adham, the change will likely be viewed as a demotion to a less prominent ministry for the Bersatu woman.

Wan Ahmad Fayshal Wan Ahmad Kamal

Bersatu’s youth chief lost his spot as the deputy youth and sport minister and has been made deputy unity minister, viewed by many as one of the smaller portfolios.

Khairuddin Aman Razali

The controversial PAS man has lost his place in the cabinet after his spot at the plantation industries and commodities ministry was given to Zuraida.

Khairuddin had been a lightning rod for attention during his tenure, first when he was handed a RM1,000 fine for breaching quarantine SOPs that many claimed was too lenient, and then when he had to fend off rumours he was in a relationship with an actress.


While the party has a healthy number of cabinet ministers and deputies, Ismail’s decision not to appoint a deputy, much like Muhyiddin for much of his tenure, must sting for a party that was rumoured to be gunning for one of their own to be selected.

This is despite the Bersatu-led Perikatan Nasional bloc bringing the most MPs to Ismail’s government and being instrumental in giving him the support he needed to become the ninth Prime Minister.


Those hoping for a lean cabinet under Ismail Sabri would be disappointed, as the 70 cabinet positions announced today is the same number of appointments made by Muhyiddin when he came into power in March last year.

1 comment:

  1. But that Twit is back as FM so no problem, I expect him to balance our budget in no time, starting in 2022 when ayam hoping he will re-introduce GST, the most effective, efficient, fairest and all the other superlatives you can think of taxation system, practiced by 500 countries worldwide. Even with covid no country abolished their GST/VAT. They all kept it. No need to Kaji Mengkaji. Jibby will sapot this, ayam sure, since he was the one that introduced it, to fill in all the huge financial holes left by 1MDB etc.

    Go On, Just Do It, starting 2022.