Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim might unveil the names of new cabinet members tomorrow – albeit a partial list, according to sources close to the PKR president….
Meanwhile, an Umno insider claimed that there was a setback in forming the new cabinet due to lobbying by a former minister, who is allegedly eyeing the finance minister position.
Ex-minister becoming a stumbling block?
The source, who is close to Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s office told Malaysiakini that the former minister is from the nationalist party, but his name was not among those in the list of candidates that Umno had sent to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“He is the stumbling block. He was not part of the list and Anwar also doesn’t want him as finance minister.
“But because he had been lobbying with certain figures, so now we are in this situation,” the source claimed.
Malaysiakini has reached the former minister for comment and is withholding his name pending a response.
If, as is being rumoured, this last minute interloper demanding the Finance Ministry role is none other than its previous occupant, Zafrul Aziz, the resounding response must be why?
Zafrul originally got the job based on no political background whatsoever, beyond an apparent close friendship with the current Agong. Somehow, he emerged as Finance Minister as part of the arrangement devised behind palace doors when Muhyiddin was appointed the surprise PM as the leader of a tiny band of rebel MPs.
It looked mightily like Zafrul was the quid pro quo for the royal backing ‘Moo’ received.
Once again, when the BN contingent of the Coup Coalition managed to wrest control, Zafrul was allowed to remain in post as an unelected Finance Minister, directing the spending of a government with a wafer thin majority in a Parliament that barely sat.
Perhaps the strange state of affairs was less evident during the Covid ‘state of emergency’ called by the Agong.
However, Zafrul’s ambitions to remain in the job were plain in that he took the trouble to run for what ought to have been a safe seat at the last election, had his party and his record been considered acceptable to voters.
Instead he was rejected and failed to win the seat while his party crashed. That should have been the end of politics for Zafrul Aziz. The negotiations of the past few weeks have rightly involved those who were elected and a Prime Minister is now appointed with the authority to decide the cabinet – that PM does not want Zafrul, naturally, and nor do the other coalition leaders nor the world of finance.
Indeed, the big bounce in the ringgit following the announcement of Anwar Ibrahim’s appointment as PM, speaks to the general verdict on Zafrul’s past three years’ management of Malaysia’s economy with his bloated budgets and scant accountability.
So why, belatedly, the apparent pressure to re-appoint this unelected fellow, rejected by voters and with a record scorned by all?
What ‘high-level’ influence could have been exerted on Zafrul’s behalf to give the new PM pause in such a way, when the Constitution makes absolutely clear that it is for him to negotiate with his political colleagues as to what jobs go to whom?
UMNO confirm that this unelected has-been from two discredited past administrations was not on their list of proposed cabinet posts. So, which other political faction would have pushed his cause?
The Prime Minister and his elected colleagues must now be allowed to do their job without interference, surely, if only to avoid unhealthy speculation as to who is promoting this rave from the grave, and why?