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Waffle of a Cabinet reshuffle – 9MP Cabinet may be as intractable a problem as 9MP


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

, Wednesday): Malaysians have not got over their disappointment and even disgust at the waffle of a Cabinet reshuffle announced by the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.

I don’t agree with the Sun front-page headline “No shocks in reshuffle” as the waffle of the Cabinet reshuffle was the shocker!   As Sun’s B.Suresh Ram pointed out, the reshuffle was just a “musical chair”.


Joceline Tan’s analysis “PM has eye on the big picture” in the Star deepened the depression when she narrated what might be the  only silver lining in the Cabinet reshuffle yesterday::

The joke among some yesterday was that his (Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid)  beautiful new wife Datin Seri Normala Shamsuddin as well as Effendi’s actress wife Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina would provide the “glam factor” among the Cabinet wives. 

What should cause many to sit up is Brendan Pereira’s NST  front-page commentary “KEEPING THE FAITH – PM puts reputation on the line” although one must read between the lines  to mine its message.


Brendan wrote:


YESTERDAY was not about the ebullient Datuk Effendi Norwawi being hoisted onto the political mainstage once again, two years after his health scare. It was not about International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz proving that there is life after the Approved Permits fiasco. It was not about Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor showing that there is no such thing as political oblivion in Malaysian politics. It was about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi putting his reputation on the line and banking on 33 ministers and 39 deputy ministers to deliver big over the next two years.

The stakes are high for the ruling coalition, and for the man who currently occupies the top job in the country. Fail, and the consequences will be grave.

He knows that the reservoir of goodwill which followed the Barisan Nasional’s grand election victory in 2004 is emptying. He knows that after the pundits and armchair critics have exhausted all their arguments in coffee houses, the only thing that would really matter in Malaysia is this — whether the economy is humming.

He is aware that the next 24 months will define how well he is judged and how well the BN fares in the next election. There will be little wiggle room for Abdullah and his band of ministers.

Day One of their task will be on March 31 — the day the Ninth
Malaysia Plan is tabled. Privately, Abdullah likes to use this analogy when describing the challenge that lies ahead for him and his team.


He says that Malaysia is at the base camp. His Government will have to provide the impetus to drive the country all the way to the peak by 2020.


Is Abdullah aware and conscious of the “grave consequences” of his Mark-3 Cabinet  as  “the reservoir of goodwill which followed the Barisan Nasional’s grand election victory in 2004 is emptying” and that his supporters and well-wishers have “exhausted all their arguments” in his defence?


Is Abdullah aware that there will be “little wiggle room for Abdullah and his band of ministers” in “the next 24 months which will define how well he is judged”, because the Prime Minister’s  Mark-2 Cabinet formed after the March 2004 general election had failed to deliver his reform pledge and programme of clean, efficient, democratic  and  good governance?


Or is Abdullah suffering from a serious case of denial in both these instances – and the most important messages in the NST front-page commentary which must be read between-the-lines have not reached the Prime Minister or his band of Ministers?


In the conclusion of  his commentary, Brendan wrote:


For his Government’s well-being, he must hope that all his ministers and deputy ministers implement the 9MP and help him create a buzz in the country. Do that, and the election down the road will take care of itself.


Just as men cannot live by bread alone, Prime Ministers cannot live by hopes alone, especially after 27 months in office and an unprecedented landslide 92% parliamentary victory.


If the 9MP Cabinet unveiled yesterday cannot create any buzz – except for the glamorous wives of two Ministers – how can his ministers and deputy ministers help Abdullah to create a buzz in the implementation of the 9MP?

Abdullah may find that his 9MP Cabinet as intractable a problem as the 9MP if does not want to be a Prime Minister who only marked time but one who will be remembered and honoured by the nation and posterity for leaving behind a proud legacy of reform and integrity for future generations.

Abdullah and his Mark-3 9MP Cabinet need a hard dose of reality check.


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

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