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Cabinet downsize  reshuffle Abdullah’s biggest new year challenge to   resuscitate  his  stalled reform programme with  a new lease of life



Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

Parliament, Saturday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was asked about his long-overdue Cabinet reshuffle during his visit to Setiu, the worst flood-affected district in Terengganu yesterday, and jokingly he responded that it could be this year or next year.

The possibility of a  Cabinet reshuffle this year is minimal  as the Prime Minister has left with his family for Perth this morning for a seven-day overseas leave – although it would the greatest news of the year if he returns fully refreshed and reinvigorated to give Malaysians a 2006 New Year present with the announcement of a Cabinet downsize reshuffle.

Unless Abdullah could come out with such a surprise to wrap up this year, the Cabinet downsize reshuffle will be his biggest new year challenge, as it  will decide whether his stalled reform programme for a clean, incorruptible, trustworthy, accountable, just, efficient, competent, people-oriented administration prepared to listen to the truth from the people can be resuscitated to get a new lease of life.

When, how and who would be involved in a Cabinet reshuffle is no more a concern of Barisan Nasional Ministers and Ministerial wannabes, but a concern of all Malaysians, particularly the electorate who had given Abdullah the unprecedented 92% parliamentary majority no other Prime Minister had ever been able to achieve in the past 10 general elections.

The jumbo-sized Cabinet which Abdullah announced after the March 2004 general election had been a great disappointment as it had failed to provide the Prime Minister the necessary support and solidarity to carry out a wide-ranging reform programme, as the promise of a new political culture of public integrity with zero tolerance for corruption is no where in sight.

It cannot miss notice, whether by the 25 million Malaysians or international observers that after more than two years as Prime Minister, Abdullah remains a lone voice in calling for a clean, incorruptible, accountable, transparent, trustworthy and efficient administration – and that no single Cabinet Minister had spearheaded such a campaign in his or her Ministry.

Every Minister in the new Abdullah downsized Cabinet must publicly pledge to spearhead such a Ministerial reform programme , submitting a quarterly progress report to Parliament.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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