DAP leaders: Government of musical chairs not meant to last

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Penang deputy chief minister (II) P Ramasamy has slammed the cabinet line-up announced by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday, saying that it looked like a government of musical chairs that was not likely to last long.

Ramasamy said there’s nothing to suggest that the new government with the same old faces might be anything different.

“Except for some cosmetic changes, the new cabinet is the same old one, except that Umno has received its ‘pound of flesh’ by having a slight edge over Bersatu in the cabinet.

“It would take a miracle for the ministers to show their performance in 100 days, for if the same cabinet could not perform in 17 months under Muhyiddin Yassin, how are they going to perform in 100 days?” asked Ramasamy.

Yesterday, the new premier unveiled his cabinet line-up which is set to be sworn in next Monday (Aug 30).

Many key positions such as that of finance, home, education, transport, works, and human resources saw the same faces retained from Muhyiddin’s line-up.

There is also no deputy prime minister named, with four “senior ministers” similar to Muhyiddin’s cabinet.

Religious affairs minister Zulkifli Mohamad, plantation industries and commodities minister Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali and special functions minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof were among the few to be jettisoned by the new prime minister who said that the cabinet will undergo a performance review after its first 100 days.

“Apart from the meaningless goal of 100 days, Ismail Sabri might have mollified Umno to some extent, but not for too long. Its position in the new cabinet is slightly better than before.

“However, this satisfaction might not last too long,” said Ramasamy, adding that the new prime minister might struggle to contain the pressure from both Bersatu and other factions within his own Umno party.

“Umno will not rest until Bersatu is finished politically from the Malaysian political scene,” claimed Ramasamy.

“By eliminating the post of deputy prime minister, he wanted to give the impression that he is fair to both Umno and Bersatu.

“Ismail Sabri might be praised for his delicate balancing act in arriving at the new cabinet, but whether he can last until the next general election remains to be seen,” said the Perai state assemblyperson.

His party colleague Lim Kit Siang also reminded Ismail Sabri of the many challenges ahead and said that the new cabinet was being assailed from all quarters as “kerajaangagal2.0”.

Lim also cited Malaysia’s fall to the bottom of Bloomberg’s monthly Covid Resilience Ranking of 53 economies of more than US$200 billion.

The ranking was launched in November last year and updated monthly ever since. Malaysia’s best ranking was 16th out of 53 countries in January 2021 but fell to 35th by May, 51st in June, 52nd in July and now 53rd in August.

Lim said this has raised the question of whether Pakatan Harapan and the opposition should continue with the Confidence-Supply-Reform Agreement (CSRA) with the Ismail Sabri government.

“I would argue that the ‘kakistocratic’ new cabinet strengthens the argument for a CSRA agreement to free the country from political maelstrom for the next 12-18 months to single-mindedly focus on the war against the Covid-19 pandemic so that we can embark on economic and national recovery.

“I believe that the best prime minister for Malaysia today is Anwar Ibrahim, or alternatively, Shafie Apdal and not Ismail Sabri, but we must go beyond the games of numbers as the replacement of Ismail Sabri as prime minister is not going to be Anwar or Shafie, but probably Azmin Ali or Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Are we going to have kerajaangagal2.0, kerajaangagal3.0, kerajaangagal4.0 ad infinitum?” he asked. – Malaysiakini