Malaysian politics - No time for learning curve.

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announced his line up of Malaysian Cabinet of Ministers. The choice of candidates appear to confirm why he needed a week to consider the implications and objective of his collition choices before he submitted their names to the King, Ke Bawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah to get his consent.

While his selections have taken into consideration the candidates' respective parties, his decision is first and foremost prioritizes the merits, integrity and quality of candidates. From the point of view of integrity, all candidates chosen had gone through the screening process by the PDRM and MACC. They need to have integrity, professionalism, experience and not corruption. Muhyiddin team has shorter delivery time considering they only have 3 years to the next election. His team has to demonstrate their worth and ability to the people and deliver the services and goods to the people long before the next election. Absolutely no time for warming seats, no time for political honeymoon and no time to go through the luxury of the learning curve. Prime Minister Muhyiddin's team has to Run.

The multiple challenges facing Malaysia right now are fragile, sensitive and can be explosive if not handled correctly and with a greater understanding of the uncertain economy challenges. The appointment of a technocrat to be part of the cabinet team is nothing new. Indonesia did it following Indonesia's last election. Prime Minister Muhyiddin appointed technocrats in the persons of Dato Tengku Zafrul Abd. Aziz as Minister of Finance and Dato Seri Zulkifli Al Bakri, former Mufti Wilayah as Minister of Religious Affairs provide some balance, foresight and expertise to the team. Dato Tengku Zafrul was the Group CEO of CIMB, a leading and forefront Malaysian bank. Dato Seri Zulkifli Mohd. Al Bakri is a low profile, open-minded, very knowledgeable, inclusive and unassuming gentleman. His advice to the Prime Minister can be valuable in building harmony and goodwill between all faiths. Dato Seri Zulkifli's advice over the years are always constructive.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin is working towards closing the gap between communities from various religious backgrounds as well as tries to break down the trust deficit among the population. Trust deficit has been brewing for the past few years, just waiting to trigger.

No appointment made from any NGOs which is seen to be an oversight at best. He also decided not to appoint Deputy Prime Minister for now. This could be read in several ways: One he is keeping it as a trump card for negotiation with Sarawak, another probability is UMNO and PAS equation. These two dominant parties in the coalition which gave him solid support and he has yet to rightfully reward their support appropriately. The choice of Maximus Ongkili and YB Datuk Seri Hanifah Taib is another serious consideration Prime Minister Muhyiddin placed on further improving relationship with Sabah and Sarawak. Ongkili has many years of experience in the Sabah Government. Datuk Seri Hanifah Taib while obviously lacking experience in government has the advantage of her father's long experience to call upon.

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