Malaysiakini News

'Ponder my list of possible cabinet members in new gov't'

Zaid Ibrahim  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | We still don’t know if seats in the upcoming polls have been allocated in a way that satisfies everyone, but I would like to think one way to manage any differences in opinion is for the prime minister-designate to start discussing who can be a part of the next cabinet. If all parties are happy with the proposed cabinet line-up, it would soothe whatever differences they might have on the number of seats their parties need to contest.

While we wait for Opposition leaders to agree on who should be the next prime minister, why not ponder my list of possible cabinet members in the new government. If the leaders take the time to reflect on and discuss these issues early, it will show the people we are ready to form a government. It will also prevent new disputes from erupting amongst all parties, which will only undermine this fragile coalition.

For the prime minister, I believe Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the right candidate. I have already given all my reasons for supporting his appointment in the last six months (much to the dismay of many), so I shall say no more on this matter.

For the post of deputy prime minister, I suggest leaving it vacant. There is no legal requirement to have a DPM, although we have practised having one for many years now. This should send a strong signal to Anwar that the job is his, but that due process must first be followed.

For the minister of oil and energy, Muhyiddin Yassin would be a good choice. Petronas must be placed under this ministry and any future prime minister with a gargantuan appetite for money should not be allowed to control our national oil company (under the present law, only the PM controls Petronas). The Petroleum Development Act 1974 must be amended to reflect this.

Issues such as how much dividends Petronas pays out and who should get its big contracts must be decided by Petronas alone. Muhyiddin is a senior minister and a capable and experienced administrator. It is therefore fitting that this huge responsibility is given to him.

I suggest Azmin Ali from PKR as minister of finance. He knows what to do to save the country from further ruin. There must be only one finance minister — and never again should the country have an all-powerful prime minister who also takes on the finance portfolio to do what Najib Abdul Razak has done.

There must be capable civil servants in the Finance Ministry and the Treasury to reign in political leaders who betray the trust of the people. The minister of finance must, of course, have good financial experts and economists of integrity to help him.

The Ministry of Education should go to Lim Kit Siang. It’s about time we look at education seriously, and that means being blind to racial considerations. We need to educate our people properly. We have failed to do that because education has been politicised to the extreme.

We no longer have educationists and real academics but political apparatchiks in our schools and universities. Let’s go back to the old days when our best teachers and lecturers came from all backgrounds and races. Let’s make Malaysia a truly great country by having a great education system...

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