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's (BN) state executive council 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 under the BN administration led by newly-appointed Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.
Suraya had been a representative for the Sungai Tiang constituents for three terms while Norsabrina is a first-term assemblyman for Bandar Baharu.
Sources claimed Suraya is expected to oversee women affairs in the state while Norsabrina, who is former chief executive officer of a Malacca state government-linked company in biotechnology, would assume the state information technology portfolio.
Prominent Kedah historian Datuk Wan Shamsuddin Mohd Yusoff said the appointment of the two assemblymen into the state cabinet, if proven true, would be historic.
"In previous Kedah state governments, there was only one woman appointed as state executive councillor.
"If the speculation about the appointment of the two women are true, this would be the first in the Kedah state government history," he said.
The swearing-in ceremony of the new state executive councillors would be held at Istana Anak Bukit near here on Wednesday.
Although Mukhriz recently said he would continue with maintaining 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 are saved for MCA assemblymen in the state should the party reverse its decision to not accept in post in the federal and state governments.
Besides Norsabrina, another three new faces expected to be included in the state cabinet were Kuala Nerang assemblyman Badrol Hisham Hashim; Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain(Tanjung Dawai); and Aminuddin Omar (Jitra).
Sources said Badrol Hisham, who is also Kedah BN Youth chief, is expected to assume the position of State Housing and Local Government committee chairman while Tajul Urus will oversee the state education portfolio. Aminuddin would be in-charge of youth and sports affairs in the state.
Also rumoured to be included in Mukhriz's state cabinet are three two-term assemblymen. They are 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 earmarked for the State Rural Development committee chairman position while Ku Abdul Rahman to be in-charge of the state industry portfolio.
Mohd Rawi is expected to oversee the Islamic religious affairs portfolio.
Most of the assemblymen rumoured to be appointed as state executive councillors, when contacted, declined to comment but said that 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 councillors' 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 about 4pm tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the two MCA state assemblymen said they would adhere with 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 has yet to budge from its stand not to accept any ministerial post and position in the state governments.