ALOR STAR: IN what is believed to be the first in the Kedah administration's history, two women are expected to be included in Barisan Nasional (BN) state executive council's 10-member committee.
Speculation is rife that Pendang Umno Wanita chief Datuk Suraya Yaacob and Kulim Puteri Umno head Datin Norsabrina Mohd Noor will be appointed as state executive councillors in the administration, led by newly appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.
Suraya has been a representative for the Sungai Tiang constituency for three terms while Norsabrina is a first-term assemblyman for Bandar Baharu.
Sources claim that Suraya is expected to oversee women's affairs while Norsabrina, who is former chief executive officer of a Malacca government-linked company in biotechnology, will assume the information technology portfolio.
Prominent Kedah historian Datuk Wan Shamsuddin Mohd Yusoff said the appointment of the two assemblymen to the state cabinet, if proved true, would be historic.
"In previous Kedah governments, there was only one woman appointed as state executive councillor.
"If the speculation about the appointment of the two women is true, this will be the first in the Kedah government's history."
The swearing in of new state executive councillors will be held at Istana Anak Bukit, near here, on Wednesday.
Although Mukhriz had said he would maintain the 10-member state executive council office, only eight assemblymen, including Suraya and Norsabrina, are expected to be appointed as councillors.
The two remaining positions have been reserved for MCA assemblymen should the party reverse its decision to not accept any posts in the federal and state governments.
Besides Norsabrina, the other three new faces expected to be included in the state cabinet are Kuala Nerang assemblyman Badrol Hisham Hashim, Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain(Tanjung Dawai) and Aminuddin Omar (Jitra).
Sources say Badrol Hisham, who is Kedah BN Youth chief, is expected to assume the position of Housing and Local Government Committee chairman while Tajul Urus will oversee the state education portfolio.
Aminuddin will be in charge of youth and sports affairs.
Also rumoured to be included in Mukhriz's state cabinet are three two-term assemblymen: Belantek assemblyman Datuk Tajuddin Abdullah, Datuk Ku Abdul Rahman Ku Ismail (Guar Chempedak) and Mohd Rawi Abd Hamid (Ayer Hangat).
Tajuddin is believed to be slated for the Rural Development Committee chairman position while Ku Abdul Rahman will be in charge of the industry portfolio.
Rawi is expected to oversee the Islamic affairs portfolio.
Most of the assemblymen who are expected to be appointed as state executive councillors declined to comment but said it was the prerogative of the menteri besar.
Several people close to Mukhriz, however, stressed that nothing has been confirmed when asked about the state executive council line-up.
However, they confirmed that Mukhriz is expected to seek an audience with Sultan of Kedah Council of Regency chairman Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah and its three members -- Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin Sultan Badlishah, Datuk Seri Tunku Abdul Hamid Thani Sultan Badlishah and Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah -- to present the list of the state cabinet line-up at Istana Anak Bukit, at 4pm today.
The two MCA state assemblymen said they would adhere to the directive from the party's top leadership.
Dr Leong Yong Kong, who is a two-term state assemblyman for Gurun, and Chua Thiong Gee said the party's leadership had not changed from its stand to not accept any federal or state government posts.