Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Party representation in cabinet – ultimately, it’s Dr M’s call

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘This is definitely a very strategic decision by Mahathir.’

Two biggest parties under-represented in Dr M's cabinet

Casey: The cabinet does not negate PKR and DAP’s representation in Parliament, or the legislative branch of the government.

In fact, the mechanism of check-and-balance remains absolutely relevant as the component parties with more parliamentary representation will continue to wield considerable clout, not just in enacting laws, but also via parliamentary oversights.

We are fresh from ousting an Umno-dominated BN. Throughout much of the history of Umno’s dominance, they had control of the parliament and the cabinet, without any meaningful opposition, much more from within. That is not where we want to go again.

It matters not that PKR and DAP have, between them, the majority of seats in Parliament. We had, after all, voted for a coalition of four component parties, under one banner, Pakatan Harapan.

Now, to say that cabinet representation must be reflective of and proportionate to the number of parliamentary seats of each component party is akin to again embracing the principle of a quota system.

Where it doesn’t compromise the reformist agenda, let the prime minister have his say and make his choice. Besides, the appointed cabinet appears balanced and competent.

Let them do the jobs that we, the rakyat, have entrusted them to do. Take issue with them, if we may, should they fail to perform.

Malaysian: Thanks Malaysiakini for doing the number-crunching and putting things into the correct perspective.

I must say it has helped me see the representation of the various component parties in a better light and realise it was not so fairly distributed after all in terms of number of seats garnered versus cabinet posts given.

But ultimately, if Prime Minister Mahathir was basing his selections on requirements for each portfolio and he has chosen the best person for the job, there should be no dissatisfaction if all truly want a better New Malaysia and are not just there for themselves.

It is time to put aside ego and greed. Don’t drag us back into the former BN-Umno government age that we have just managed to pull ourselves out from.

David Dass: Forming a cabinet was the most difficult exercise. How do you satisfy the Harapan component parties?

There is no question DAP and PKR came in strongly in GE14, not Bersatu. But Bersatu was Mahathir. And few would deny that Mahathir played a decisive role in Harapan winning the election.

Who is to say that many of the seats won by PKR and DAP were not the result of Mahathir's campaigning and pull?

In any event, according to a Merdeka Centre analysis, more than 60 percent of Malays did not vote for Harapan.

Mahathir cannot ignore the demography of the nation. Harapan must win over many of those who voted Umno and PAS. Harapan must demonstrate to all Malaysians that they can work for all. They can meet the aspirations of all.

In the end, Mahathir had to make the decision on who he would appoint.

Could there have been a few more non-Malays? Perhaps. Should DAP deputy secretary-general Nga Kor Ming, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua have been made ministers? Maybe.

In the end, it was Mahathir's call. Adjustments or additions can be made later.

Ericlcc: This is definitely a very strategic decision by Mahathir. If ever he steps down after two years, his successor Anwar Ibrahim will find it difficult to change the composition.

This will ensure that Bersatu and Parti Warisan Sabah will still get to keep the number of cabinet appointees after Mahathir leaves office. This doesn’t augur well, especially for DAP.

Anonymous #40538199: The prime minister's prerogative in the appointment of ministers and the allocation based on the number of seats won reflects the Umno/BN model.

Surely, we can have other ways to appoint the cabinet - say, if half of the cabinet positions were distributed equally among the coalition partners, with the other half distributed based on the number of seats won.

The prime minister could exercise his prerogative over certain senior cabinet positions, with the junior positions filled based on respective parties' recommendation.

This may help to reduce inter/intra-party friction in the coalition. Please don't go back to the Umno/BN model.

Anonymous_c9b96c38: The number of seats won is not a clear indication of popularity, as the seats to contest were allocated and agreed amongst Harapan parties.

PKR and DAP must accept that both of them would not have won GE14 without Bersatu and Amanah, and vice versa. Together with the East Malaysian parties, they have to agree to a cabinet where no party is overwhelmingly powerful and no party is too under-represented to be ignored.

This is Harapan’s first cabinet. Over time, the composition may be refined but it must still be a cabinet of equal partners.

The composition of MPs in Parliament will reflect the “actual” strength of the party and this will provide the checks and balances should any minister feel like throwing his or her weight around.

Hopefully, that will not be needed and the Harapan presidential council can iron out all differences.

Anonymous 477821434535334: Based on the headcount, it is indeed unfair to PKR and DAP. However, for the good of Malaysia in the long run, and for the longevity of the Harapan government, it's wise to empower Amanah and Bersatu.

The biggest threat to the nation moving forward are the racist-cum-religious extremists in PAS. Especially after feeling fed up with Umno’s denial syndrome, more Muslim voters could be flocking to PAS.

Moderate Muslim leaders in Amanah are the best candidates to counter PAS. They shoulder a huge responsibility in promoting moderation among Muslims who can work with all communities to develop our beloved country.

As for Bersatu, it faces huge challenges from Umno in the rural areas. Umno, under its new president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, is set to continue with racial extremism, waiting for opportunities to stoke racial tensions. Bersatu leaders must be empowered to counter the cash-rich Umno.

Amanah and Bersatu must remember the sacrifice of their bigger Harapan brothers, in helping the younger parties grow in strength to fight PAS/Umno.

Peninjau: In the event of non-performance, we won't change the government but we want action to be taken against those individuals, regardless of whether they are prime minister, deputy prime minister, minister or deputy minister.

Changes of portfolios may be necessary if the situation demands it. The rakyat is watching.


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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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