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downsize and launch an Integrity Cabinet of about 20 Ministers to
spearhead his flagship reform of a clean and incorruptible administration
which had been stalled for more than two years
He must not repeat his jumbo-sized Cabinet which he formed after his landslide general election victory in March 2004 winning over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, appointing 33 Ministers, 38 Deputy Ministers and 22 Parliamentary Secretaries – i.e. almost every one of two Barisan Nasional MPs becoming government front-benchers.
The record of the jumbo-sized Cabinet, probably the biggest in the Commonwealth and even the world in terms of ratio to population size, is a poor and dismal one, as it has neither distinguished itself in manifesting a higher performance culture nor demonstrated any seriousness or commitment to the pledge by Abdullah for a clean, incorruptible, accountable, trustworthy, efficient and just administration.
The Barisan Nasional’s 14-party coalition government is no excuse or justification for having such a jumbo-sized Cabinet, when the Cabinet of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, heading a 15-party United Progresive Alliance coalition government supported by four other left parties, has only 24 Cabinet Ministers as compared to Malaysia’s 33 Cabinet Ministers.
Malaysia has 2.3 per cent of India’s one billion population, with less parties in the coalition federal government, but we have a jumbo Cabinet which is bigger than that of India after the last general election.
This must be rectified, when we take into account the Cabinet size, efficiency and performance of other countries. Australia, for instance, has only 17 Cabinet Ministers.
The biggest test whether any of the present Cabinet Minister should be retained in a downsize integrity reshuffle must be his or her record and contribution since the last general election to Abdullah’s flagship reform commitment to eradicate corruption in the public sector and to promote a new culture of political integrity of zero tolerance for corruption.
Ministers who have no record to show that they have provided Ministerial leadership in the past 20 months to ensure higher profile and commitment of integrity in their respective Ministries should be dropped in the downsize reshuffle.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman