PETALING JAYA: The list of deputy ministers comes as both a surprising yet expected one, say political analysts.
While the number of deputy ministers was expected, the appointment of two deputies for Finance was unexpected.
Several names on the list also came as a surprise. Among them were two candidates who had lost in the election last month but will be made senators before they are sworn in.
The two, both PKR leaders, are Fuziah Salleh (Domestic Trade and Cost of Living) who lost in Kuantan and Saraswathy Kandiah (Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development) who lost in Tapah.
Another surprise name was first-time MP Lim Hui Ying, the sister of DAP chairman Guan Eng, being made Deputy Education Minister.
The three are among eight women named as deputy ministers. There are five women ministers.
The National Unity Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry were left without deputies.
The list of deputy ministers was quite surprising, although it reflected the ratio (of ministers) announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last Friday, said Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan.“One would be the Finance Ministry having two deputy ministers which is similar to the previous administration.
“Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan’s appointment as the Deputy Finance Minister and Liew Chin Tong (as the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister) is also a surprise,” he said.
Ahmad Maslan served in the same position under former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from 2013 to 2015.
Azmi also noted how some ministries had both ministers and deputies from the same coalition, adding that there would be a better check-and-balance if they came from different political blocs.
The ministries where both the top two are from the same coalition are Youth and Sports (both Pakatan); Communications and Digital (Pakatan); Foreign Affairs (Barisan Nasional); Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (Pakatan); Local Government Development (Pakatan); and Agriculture and Food Security (Pakatan).
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said the line-up of deputy ministers comprised the best of various political blocs under one government.
“In terms of experience, we have Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim, among others, who were also part of the Cabinet in previous administrations.”
Sim was a former youth and sports deputy minister.
“This (experience) is something which can be utilised by Anwar. There is also good gender balance and the presence of young people is exciting,” said the political sociologist.
Universiti Malaya’s Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the Cabinet now comprised a “dream team” of the Anwar-led administration.
“The appointment of Datuk Rubiah Wang as the Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister also ensures that Sabah and Sarawak will not be left behind (when it comes to development).
“Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib as Deputy Economy Minister also has great potential given her experience in the corporate sector,” he said.
On the two ministries without deputies, political analyst Liew Wui Chern said it could be due to an absence of a suitable candidate, and the appointment could be made later.
“Traditionally the national unity minister and his deputy are from Sabah and Sarawak.
“Maybe the Prime Minister would rather leave it vacant first, so any addition can be done later,” he said.
As for the Religious Affairs Ministry, Liew expected a deputy to be appointed later after observing the ground sentiment, especially since PAS’ big win in the Padang Serai parliamentary seat in Kedah.
He also said a Muslim religious leader was likely be appointed to the post.
On ministries that saw both minister and deputy from the same coalition, Liew said they involved “second-line” ministries and thus, was not likely to cause too much dissatisfaction.
Liew described the appointments as both “weird and unexpected but also proper”.
Among the “weird and unexpected” appointments were that of Ahmad Maslan and Lim Hui Ying, while the “proper ones” included Ramkarpal Singh as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Law and Institutional Reformation, he said.
“Let’s look forward and give this line-up a chance to prove their worth,” he added.