Cabinet discussions to proceed no matter what

Professor Dr. Sivamurugan Pandian

PETALING JAYA: With or without a Covid-19 scare, the immediate plans of the new coalition government forge ahead, say political analysts.

Discussions on the composition of the Cabinet, they add, cannot be delayed.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian from the School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia said appointing the new Cabinet members would be the top priority.

“They (the new government) would have already started negotiating Cabinet seats and portfolios. If this is delayed further, the prime minister would be on his own.

“Because it is a new government, it needs a Cabinet and deputy ministers to start on the work, ” he said.

It is improbable, he added, that the formation of the Cabinet could stall over one or two persons who were exposed to a Covid-19 patient.

“If one or two politicians need to be quarantined, they can be sworn in later if they are indeed appointed.

“Right now, the majority of the politicians do not seem to be affected yet, so they will proceed, ” he said.

Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Takiyuddin Ismail of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said any delay in the formation of the Cabinet would create a negative perception towards the new government.

“The most important thing for them right now is to expedite the appointment of ministers. It is of utmost importance to give people the perception that the government is on the right track.

“For the sake of establishing that the new government is in power, they have to expedite the Cabinet formation.

“There cannot be a delay, ” he said.

However, he added that it depended on the chain of events and how many people would be affected by the exposure to the Covid-19 patient.

The Health Ministry yesterday said it was acting on information on social media that two prominent personalities were said to have been in close contact recently with a person identified as the country’s 26th Covid-19 patient.

The duo are not named in the ministry’s press release but it is widely known that they are former entrepreneur development and cooperatives minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof and his former deputy Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli.

The two politicians were believed to have separately been in several meetings that took place over the political turmoil last week.

Some media personnel covering the burst of political activity were also instructed to go for Covid-19 testing.

According to the Health Ministry, those who have come in close contact with Covid-19 patients and have symptoms are referred to hospitals to be tested and isolated for two weeks.

Those without symptoms will have samples taken for testing and they must remain at home for surveillance. Thirteen days later, additional samples are taken to reconfirm that their tests are negative.

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