No change to Cabinet, hard to work with fixed timeline on handover, says Dr M

Azril Annuar
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says bringing in new members to the Cabinet could worsen matters instead of improving them. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today confirmed that he will not introduce new members to his Cabinet while he is prime minister, amid public criticism of several allegedly underperforming ministers.

Speaking on air at BFM's the Breakfast Grille show this morning, the prime minister said bringing in someone new could worsen matters instead of improving them.

“If I change a minister and take in new minister, the candidates I have are all new. This present minister has got one year experience. In a new minister I will have a tough time getting him to adjust in a new job. He probably won't deliver also,” he replied when asked if he would replace any member of his Cabinet, including Education Minister Maszlee Malik who has been lambasted by the public as a poorly performing minister.

“A new minister doesn't mean good minister. We had a new prime minister we thought was going to be good but no, he wasn't good also,” he said, without specifying anyone.

Dr Mahathir is back in office for a second time, having led the government under Barisan Nasional from 1981 to 2003 and passing the baton to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who in turn was succeeded by Datuk Seri Najib Razak in April 2003 until the May 2018 general election.

The world's oldest elected official at 94 who is now leading the Pakatan Harapan coalition said his next successor, whom he did not name during the interview, will most likely create his own Cabinet.

“Well the next prime minister might have his own Cabinet. When you reshuffle the Cabinet, it creates problems and doesn't solve problems. It creates more problems. That's why I'm not keen on solving problems by changing people.

“I changed people before. I stepped down. And then I was asked to come back,” he said.

Touching on the two-year timeline that he has as prime minister, Dr Mahathir said he will keep to his promise but at the same time needs to ensure that the country is back on its feet before handing the reins of power.

“I promised I would be interim PM. I will do so. I keep my promise.”

However, when asked why he is keeping his cards close to his chest, he pointed out that giving him a fixed timeline will make it harder for him to achieve his goals.

“Because I have to make sure I solve most of the major problems before handover. A fixed period difficult for me to work,” said Dr Mahathir.

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