Few surprises in Najib’s new Cabinet

By Jahabar Sadiq

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak will remain finance minister and Malayan Banking Berhad chief executive Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar will be made minister in charge of the key Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the new Cabinet to be announced today, said Barisan Nasional (BN) sources.

Up to late last night, Najib and his team were still making changes to the list but The Malaysian Insider learnt that Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin is also expected to take up a post in the Cabinet.

There is also talk that several MCA MPs will take up the Transport, Health and Housing and Local Government ministerial posts in the Cabinet, but that has yet to be confirmed.

The MCA, which only won seven out of the 37 federal seats it contested, had vowed not to take up any Cabinet posts if they gained fewer seats in the May 5 general election than the 15 obtained in Election 2008.

It is learnt that Najib had a meeting with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday over the issue.

Meanwhile, the new Cabinet could see Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed as finance minister II, said BN sources.

Among others on the Cabinet list are former Terengganu mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as education minister while Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was moved to the Tourism Ministry.

Umno sources had earlier said Zahid would stay in Defence while another party vice-president, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, would likely to be retained as home minister.

It was also learnt that Datuk Noriah Kasnon will be made the women, family and community development affairs minister. The Sungai Besar MP is also a Wanita Umno executive council member and was a deputy minister in that ministry since last year.

It is also understood that Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan will also be made a minister.

Two MIC MPs, party president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and his deputy, Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam, will also get Cabinet posts, war room insiders said.

Among the East Malaysian MPs said to be named to the Cabinet are Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (Foreign), Datuk Peter Chin Fai Kui (Energy, Green Technology and Water) and Douglas Unggah Embas (Natural Resources and Environment).

Both Anifah and Chin had served as ministers in the previous Cabinet although Chin, who is the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president, did not contest in Election 2013.

A list purportedly containing the names of 28 ministers for Najib’s new Cabinet had been posted on a blog late last night, but has yet to confirmed as the official list.

State news agency Bernama reported yesterday that Najib is scheduled to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah at Istana Negara at noon today to get approval for his new Cabinet line-up.

According to the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Department, the King has agreed that ceremony to present letters of appointment, as well as for the appointed ministers and deputy ministers to take the oath of office, loyalty and secrecy be held at the palace at 9.30am on Thursday.

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