Cabinet lineup to be announced by end of the week, say sources

KUALA LUMPUR: All questions over who will be included in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's cabinet lineup are expected to be answered by the end of the week.

A source close to Anwar's camp said this was following the latter's audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Tuesday.

It was learnt that the prime minister's audience with the King was to present the cabinet lineup in to form the federal government as soon as possible before the King departs for an official visit abroad on Saturday.

"The cabinet lineup will probably be announced tomorrow (Thursday). We have not received any information that it will be announced today.

"Although everyone is speculating that Anwar has presented the (cabinet) list to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong yesterday, there is still no information on the finalised list (yet)," the source told the New Straits Times.

The source had also dismissed rumours that Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would be appointed as the deputy prime minister.

"We do not have any information on whether Zahid would be appointed as the deputy prime minister. It will be announced soon," said the source.

Another source, meanwhile, said the announcement on the cabinet lineup should not be later than this week.

"Anwar knows the people in Pakatan Harapan (PH) and other parties, including those from Sabah and Sarawak, in order to choose the best people for the ministerial posts.

"So it shouldn't take long to have the ministers sworn in. He (Anwar) has already met the King and should have the list of people that he has screened."

Anwar, who was sworn in as Malaysia's 10th prime minister on Nov 24, had announced that the unity government he would lead would see a smaller cabinet composition.

The cabinet under the leadership of former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri had previously comprised 31 ministers and 38 deputies.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's cabinet, meanwhile, had consisted of 31 ministers and an equal number of deputy ministers.

Anwar said the cabinet, under his leadership, would also propose for ministers' salaries to be reduced, following the economic situation in the country.

He added that the formation of the cabinet would depend on the component parties in the unity government, which would propose the names for the cabinet.

BN is understood to have already submitted its proposed names for inclusion in the unity government cabinet.

It is learnt that among those named are BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Universiti Malaya political analyst, Dr Mohammad Tawfik Yaakub, in a podcast session with Berita Harian, said there was no issue with the names presented as long as BN chairman Zahid is not included.

"I believe that if we want to instill confidence (among the people), we need to ensure that the cabinet formation is consistent until the completion of the parliament term (of the unity government)," he said.

Tawfik said it was imperative that the people's sentiment was upheld in the formation of the government.

"We are confident with the King's mandate (to form a unity government), the formula was to resolve the political crisis the country is facing.

"However, how do we make sure that the ministers appointed could deliver and do their best in serving the people? We do not want another minister who would take advantage of the post to receive wealth and undermine the press as well as the people in general with lies," he said.

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