PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has unveiled a Cabinet that is aimed at fulfilling the Barisan Nasional’s election pledges to provide better service to the people and ensure a peaceful and prosperous future.
The announcement of the line-up yesterday, coming a week after the Barisan was returned to power, saw the appointment of 14 new ministers as well as the creation of two new ministries.
Two other ministries were merged, three split and five renamed, while one was abolished.
“This is the Cabinet for the future. This is a big change in the Government that aims to give better service to the people,” the Prime Minister said.
Abdullah said he had appointed those who had integrity.
“Yes (they are clean) because there is no case (against them) that they cannot be appointed,” Abdullah told a media conference at the Prime Minister’s Department here.
He also announced that Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak would remain as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister.
The two new ministries created are the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and Federal Territories Ministry.
There are now two ministries to look after education – Education and Higher Education. The Home Ministry has been split into Internal Security and Home Affairs, and Culture, Arts and Tourism into Arts, Culture and Heritage; and Tourism.
The National Unity and Social Development and the Women and Family Development Ministries have been merged into the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
The Land and Co-operative Development Ministry has been abolished.
Five ministries, Abdullah said, had been renamed to reflect their responsibilities and focus.
They are the Plantation Industries and Commodities; Science Technology and Innovations; Energy, Water and Communications; Rural and Regional Development; and Agriculture and Agro-based Industries.
The 14 new ministers are Datuk Azalina Othman (Youth and Sports), Datuk Khaled Nordin (Entrepreneurial and Co-operative Development), Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek (Health), Datuk Aziz Shamsudin (Rural and Regional Development), Datuk Dr Shafie Salleh (Higher Education), Datuk Shafie Afdal (Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs), Datuk Peter Chin (Plantation Industries and Commodities) and Datuk Seri Adenan Satem (Natural Resources and Environment).
Four of the other new ministers are in the Prime Minister's Department – Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin and Dr Maximus Ongkili.
The other new ministers are Datuk Khaled Nordin (Entrepreneurial and Cooperative Development) and Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad (Federal Territories).
Asked about appointed Cabinet members who were tainted by allegations of corruption, Abdullah said any minister found to be involved in wrongdoings would not escape the law.
He said he had taken a stand that the Anti-Corruption Agency must carry out investigations efficiently into whatever had been brought up to it “so that a final decision can be made.”
Abdullah said that if there was any wrongdoing, action must be taken.
“This includes those I have selected. As ministers, they do not have immunity, because that is the law,” he added.
The Prime Minister, who also holds the Internal Security portfolio, said he would be responsible for the police and other agencies involved in security matters.
“As for the Home Affairs Ministry, it will be responsible for immigration, the registration department and foreign labour.
“We broke up the large ministry because I felt that it was better to allow the minister and his officers to focus on specific matters,” he added.
The Prime Minister also reminded his Cabinet members to go to the ground instead of “just sitting in the office.”
“You must go down and must see what is happening and discuss with your officers. I believe it will increase effectiveness,” he added.
On those dropped, Abdullah said he had to give new faces the opportunity to serve in the Cabinet.
New Cabinet line-upA Star special on Malaysia's new cabinet line-up in pdf format.
New Cabinet announcedThe list of the Cabinet line-up.