Najib to fill in 11 vacancies in new Cabinet

Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - There are 11 vacancies to be filled by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in the new Cabinet.

Six members did not contest in the general election, one has been re-assigned to a state seat while four others were defeated in the polls.

Najib will also need to ensure that his Cabinet line-up reflects, to a certain degree, the outcome of the general election.

The prime minister could reward Umno and Barisan Nasional's Sabah and Sarawak component parties for their continued strong performance in the polls with Cabinet positions.

Umno, which previously won 79 seats now holds 88 seats while Sarawak's Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu maintained its 100 per cent record by winning all 14 of its parliamentary seats.

The MIC is expected to retain its two Cabinet seats as its president G. Palanivel and his deputy Dr S. Subramaniam won in the polls.

Several Barisan MPs are of the opinion that Najib's new Cabinet line-up should comprise new faces and those who have "less baggage".

"Don't worry about them not having the experience. Barisan MPs are smart and they can learn fast," said an MP, adding that ministers must quickly articulate issues pertaining to ministries onto various media platform like websites and Twitter.

Another MP said it would be ideal to see bigger representation from Sabah and Sarawak.

"There were seven ministers from Sabah and Sarawak in the previous Cabinet. We hope to see a bigger number," he said.

Those who did not contest in the general election were Dr Rais Yatim, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Dr Ng Yen Yen, Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Peter Chin Fah Kui.

Khaled Nordin, who was the Higher Education Minister, contested in the Permas state seat in Johor while Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal

Abidin, Kong Cho Ha, Bernard Dompok and Chor Chee Heung were defeated in the polls.

The Malaysian Chinese Association has decided not to accept any positions.

Najib will have to make a decision whether to respect the party's stand or persuade them to join the Cabinet with several Barisan leaders urging the party to reconsider its position.



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