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LETTER | Ministerial quota is unconstitutional

LETTER | The conversation and fight between politicians on who should take over Zuraida Kamaruddin’s ministerial position in the cabinet is somehow still there despite a month having passed since she announced leaving Bersatu.

The struggle between the politicians from different parties, particularly those of Bersatu, lies in whether the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry should be granted to a parliamentarian from Bersatu.

Its president Muhyiddin Yassin even prepared names to be submitted to the prime minister.

However, such a ministerial quota is unconstitutional in the first place.

According to Article 43 of the Federal Constitution, cabinet ministers are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong based on the advice of the prime minister.

That is, the prime minister holds the power to appoint any MPs who suit the position inside the cabinet and then present the lawmaker to the Agung to consent.

The autonomy of appointing cabinet ministers lies with the prime minister, not any other politicians.

Therefore, though Muhyiddin can reach an agreement between him and the prime minister about the number of ministers to be granted to his party, he cannot push or pressure the prime minister to do it even if a black-and-white contract exists.

It is the prime minister’s legal power to appoint cabinet ministers.

The prime minister can also take suggestions from his coalition partners about the suitable choices of people to be appointed as ministers, but the final decision still lies in his hands, and on legal grounds, nobody could pressure him to change his decision just to suit a certain quota agreed upon by all coalition partners.

That is, the prime minister is granted the legal ground to break any promises or agreements that he had made with his partners. 

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin

It is actually pointless for Muhyiddin to fight for a ministerial position for his party member now, considering that GE15 may be called any time.

Even if he does succeed in getting his member to become the new plantation industries and commodities minister, it won’t last long.

His suggestion of adding an extra department to keep Zuraida in the cabinet is further worthless, as the current cabinet is already bloated with 31 ministers and tonnes of unnecessary special officers.

This money could have been used to help the ones suffering the impact of the current inflation crisis.

Adding an extra department is nothing but a waste of public funds.

Plus, on what basis does Muhyiddin think that the prime minister will keep Zuraida in the cabinet?

Though Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) is currently applying to join BN, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Zuraida will be its friend.

Given the current political climate, maybe removing Zuraida from the cabinet is the best option for BN, as GE15 may be called anytime and people are watching closely the performance of the current government.

I am sure that BN doesn’t want to be blamed for “protecting political frogs” which would affect their winning potential.

However, even if Zuraida is eliminated from the cabinet, there is no room for Muhyiddin or any other politicians to push for a ministerial quota, as it is unconstitutional in the first place.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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