For those not in the know, ministers positions in our cabinet are not spelt out inside our Federal Constitution. And so is the DPMs position. In our Societies Act, a deputy’s position has always been a position ‘without’ portfolio. Specifically, it is not a key position, and the job function is mainly to assist the busy head of a club or society or PM in executing his duties. At best he becomes the acting PM until the tenure is over just in case the PM for some reason or another, cannot complete his term eg. due to death. At worst, the DPM is being given nothing to do.
Inside Anwar’s cabinet, all his DPMs including him holds two positions. Since they are taking a salary cut, holding two job functions means they are executing two duties side by side for the price of one. It is a very smart move to ensure his DPMs still earn their full pay and since it is a unity government, PHs election manifestos will also take a setback, because Anwar now has to share the government with other component parties whom may not hold the same ideology as PHs, thus Anwar also needed to sacrifice the many seats which could very well be distributed to his own deserving loyalists, if not for the hung Parliament.
(I believe that his component parties have also all agreed to have it pro-rated acccording to the number of seats each party garner, therefore the one seat Muda earns is hardly significant to deserve one full ministerial position inside the cabinet.)
As the Prime Minister, we can all agree to disagree that Anwar doesn’t need any other portfolios. But Anwar did, hang on to Finance, because someone needs to police the illicit cash outflow streaming out of our country causing severe monetary loss. And he took it upon himself a job that could risk offending many parties. For those not in the know, Anwar is one ‘Mr Clean’ seldom encountered in the history of Malaysian politics. And because of his nature, no robbers would want him in the way and thus, many prefer to work with PN. History has proven that Tun M needed to pin Anwar down with fabricated sodomy charges because they found nothing on Anwar that they could use to boot him from his position. Anwar also went against Tun M’s idea of giving ICs to refugees just to win the Sabah elections, which made Tun M suspect him as a traitor to Umno, a liability to his cabinet, and a threat to Tun’s position since a loss could mean Tun can be replaced. During his first stint as Deputy Prime Minister to Tun M long Ago, Anwar made a public appeal to the rakyat to report any known corruption to him personally, by promising them safety in return for being whistleblowers. This action of his nevertheless infuriate Tun M who then instructed Megan Junid Megat Ayub to plot his downfall.
Finance, is a far better alternative than the all powerful Home Ministry considering all the dramas acting out recently in our political arena. If Anwar is power crazy and fear others would topple him, he could have given himself the Home Ministry instead, since the Police, Immigration, MACC, the judiciary, are all within this portfolio. But he did not. As the PM, I suspect Anwar knows he should not be seen as the PM who could puppet the outcome of the court clusters or to press charges against financial discrepancies happening during Mahiaddin’s or Sabri’s tenure, if there are any. The judiciary, the MACC and the police force, has to be seen to be independent therefore he cannot afford the accusation in case any of them are brought to court, albeit they win or lose. As a step towards the independence of our judiciary, the Majlis Raja Raja has proposed to relief Anwar, as PM, from appointing the remaining five federal court judges.
Yes, all of us secretly wanted to see the all familiar faces in this new cabinet. And we are also concern with two names that sticks out like a sore thumb. Zahid and Zafrul. But for those who favours Zulkefly Ahmad, Yeo Bee Yin, Gobind Singh, KJ, etc. or even Syed Saddiq for that matter, I’m sure they are not left out as deputies except KJ who I believe would have accepted Anwar’s offer if not for Tok Mat in the cabinet.
Only that when the quota for cabinet positions is small for every party, compromises needed to be made, and in such cases, it is very usual that party presidents, deputy presidents and their Secretary General will get first priority as full ministers in the formation of the cabinet. Anwar too needed to ensure a fair distribution of woman inside his cabinet as well as the representation of the various ethnic races and states. And that is exactly what’s happening now. It is not an easy job sorting out the list of potentials, and naming the wrong person could very well break Anwar’s integrity but in the end, we should all be happy that 12 key full minister positions fairly went to PH party members since they earn the largest mandate, followed by BN and GPS.
No one, not even their own party members could imagine that PH and BN would one day become odd sleep mates. Zahid needs to consolidate his position after BNs bad showing and his party’s call for his immediate resignation, and Zahid knew only a stronger UMNO can regain back the spillover of votes to PN and PAS whom benefitted substantially from their failure. With this, he now finds solace with his new found partner, and hopefully work wisely and repent from his misdeeds, until fate would eventually decide his worthiness. A strong UMNO will be the downfall of PN and PAS. PH on the other hand, right now needed the numbers to form a solid government.
And all else, is yet to see. We should not be too hasty to judge this time around. We should learn to discard our ‘once an opposition, always an opposition’ mentality and go with the flow. Since it is a blue ocean cabinet, our Agong and Raja Raja’s also made some surprisingly wise blue ocean decisions, and we should be grateful that no untoward scene happen in the aftermath of GE15 through their intervention. Cos none of us initially thought that Anwar will be PM10 with all the resistance he face from PN.