SHAH ALAM: Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib had no inkling that he would be included in the Cabinet line-up since he did not contest in the elections.
He was taken by surprise when he was named the Rural and Regional Development Minister while watching the live telecast of the Prime Minister's announcement after chairing the Risda board of directors meeting yesterday.
Picture of happiness: Muhammad and his wife Puan Sri Asbi Rohani Asnan posing forphotographs at his house in Shah Alam after his appointment.
“It was a total shock but I was also glad at the same time that the Prime Minister has the confidence in me and for bringing me back into the Government after an 11-year absence,” he said.
Muhammad, who is Umno information chief, was appointed senator in 2006 which allows him to be made a minister.
Muhammad, 62, was forced to resign as Selangor Mentri Besar in April 1997 after he was charged in Australia over currency irregularities amounting to RM3.8mil. However, he was later found not guilty.
He said being appointed minister at a time when the size of the Cabinet had been reduced would pose a challenge but he said he was up to the task.
He said his first move would be to meet with the various department heads in the ministry to get acquainted with their functions and future direction.
Asked what he thought of Abdullah’s decision to appoint as ministers those who did not contest in the recent general election, he said it was the Prime Minister’s prerogative to pick those who he felt could serve the country best.
On having four ministers from Selangor despite Barisan losing the state, he said they would have to work as a combined force to ensure continued development of the state.
The four are Datuk Ong Tee Keat (Transport), Datuk Noh Omar (Entrepreneurial and Co-operative Development), Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamad (Works) and Muhammad.