KOTA KINABALU: All ears are on who will make up the 11-member Sabah Cabinet of Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman.
Sabah Barisan Nasional leaders from seven of the nine parties, whose candidates won seats, are believed to be eyeing various portfolios.
Musa has a wide choice to pick with Barisan sweeping all but one of the 60 state and 24 of the 25 parliament seats in the state in Sunday’s General Election.
Umno won the largest number with 32 in the state and 13 in parliament, followed by Parti Bersatu Sabah (13 state and four MPs), Upko (five state and four MPs), Sabah Progressive Party (four state and two MPs), Liberal Democratic Party (three state), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah once each in parliament and state and MCA with one state seat.
Barisan officials say that PBS, the Kadazandusun-based party led by Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, is likely to be included in the Cabinet line-up for the first time after its re-entry into the coalition fold two years ago.
Musa has to fill two new faces for the three deputy chief minister posts following the defeat of Upko’s Datuk Wences Anggang in Kuala Penyu and SAPP’s Datuk Tham Nyip Shen who did not defend his Elopura seat.
The third deputy chief minister Datuk Lajim Ukin, of Umno, retained his Klias state seat and another spot became vacant with an incumbent minister Datuk Salleh Tun Said not defending the Usukan state seat.
In the previous 11-member state Cabinet, Umno held six, SAPP two with LDP, PBRS and Upko holding one each while from the total of 14 assistant ministers, Umno held 12 with LDP and Upko one each.
Barisan officials expect Musa to bring in at least four to five new faces in his Cabinet line-up that will be done in consultation with component leaders and also Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi.
“There is a lot of accommodating to do. As of now, many do not know what sort of formula is being worked out,” said a senior Barisan official, who expects at least half of the Umno state ministers and assistant ministers to be dropped.
They also said that some of the state ministerial portfolios would be renamed through restructures of the portfolios in the process of accommodating various component parties.