KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) wants four ministers’ posts in the new Federal Cabinet led by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, similar to the number of its ministers in the previous administration, says Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (pic).
“We have requested to maintain the number, but it’s up to the Prime Minister,” he said after the state legislative assembly sitting was adjourned yesterday.
Abang Johari said he had not heard anything about the Cabinet appointments and did not know when the new Cabinet line-up would be announced.
Analysts believe that GPS will get four minister posts, including that of a deputy prime minister, in Anwar’s Cabinet.
Universiti Malaya analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof and Kapit MP Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi are the likely choices for the deputy prime minister’s post.
“Each has his own strengths and advantages and both can make a national impact, as well as on Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Fadillah is the GPS chief parliamentary whip and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) senior vice-president, while Nanta is GPS secretary-general.
In the previous Cabinet under former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Fadillah was Senior Minister (Works) and Nanta was the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.
Awang Azman said either Fadillah or Nanta would be appointed as minister if they were not picked to be the deputy prime minister.
Another minister candidate is PBB’s Santubong MP, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who was formerly Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.
He said another ministerial position could go to Serian MP Datuk Seri Richard Riot from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) or to an MP from either Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) or Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
“Sarawak will have a small representation in the Cabinet due to the Cabinet’s smaller size and also in line with GPS’ number of seats won,” he added.
GPS won 23 of Sarawak’s 31 parliamentary seats in GE15.
National Council of Professors senior fellow Datuk Dr Jeniri Amir said: “GPS expects to have senior people in the team. Fadillah, being a senior minister in the previous administration, is likely to be DPM, although Nanta is also a possible candidate.
“I think there won’t be a Sabah/Sarawak Affairs Ministry as Anwar wants to trim the Cabinet to 25 ministries, but this can be placed under the purview of a DPM from Sarawak,” he added.
Jeniri also said that GPS and other parties in the unity government should abide by Anwar’s decision on the Cabinet line-up.
“He has made his intention clear not to have a bloated Cabinet, so those not appointed should accept the decision,” he added.
He said Anwar should consider picking technocrats and experts in the economy and education for Cabinet positions instead of sticking rigidly to politicians.