“THE role of deputy prime minister (DPM) is not one to boast about; it is a solemn responsibility entrusted by the people and the nation, requiring one to fulfil it to the best of his ability.”
These were the words of Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof after being appointed DPM in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet on Dec 3, 2022.
Emphasising the gravity of the responsibility, Fadillah pledged to uphold stability, sincerity, and honesty for the betterment of Malaysia.
Fadillah’s political journey which began in 1989 gained national attention when he assumed the DPM role – making him the first person from Borneo to hold the position.
Since his appointment, Fadillah, alongside the unity government, has made remarkable progress in addressing national and global challenges – steering Malaysia towards becoming an advanced nation.
This success underscores the trust placed in Fadillah who was given two crucial portfolios in the federal government to handle, as he also serves as Plantation and Commodities Minister in addition to his deputy premier role.
Weight of responsibilities
Fadillah’s responsibilities extend to chairing 19 committees, including the technical committee of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council (MTP MA63).
Anwar commended Fadillah for successfully resolving almost all issues related to the MA63 agreement, recognising his competence in handling this complex task.
As DPM, Fadillah aims to strike a balance between his national responsibilities and the specific needs and desires of the people of his home state Sarawak.
He not only leads the technical committee on the MA63 but also chairs the committee addressing the proposal to grant autonomy to Sarawak in matters related to health and education.
This reflects his commitment to tackling regional concerns while fulfilling his broader role as the second-highest leader in the federal government.
Having served as the Senior Minister of Works in the previous Cabinet, Fadillah played a direct role in resolving six demands from Sabah and Sarawak.
Notable achievements include recognising the Public Works Department and the Irrigation and Drainage Department of Sabah and Sarawak as technical departments under Treasury Instruction 182, and transferring control of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) supervision to Sarawak.
Fadillah reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to fulfilling all agreements in the MA63 but emphasised that the resolution timeline for each demand depends on legal processes and the readiness of state governments in terms of operations, human resources, and finances.
Beyond his ministerial and committee responsibilities, Fadillah, as the chief whip of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), also leads mega projects in Sabah and Sarawak – aligned with the technical committee of the MTP MA63, with the Works Ministry serving as secretariat.
He also chairs the Cabinet Committee on the National Automotive Policy, highlighting his engagement in various critical areas of governance.
Fadillah’s extensive responsibilities would have been a daunting task were it not for Anwar’s trust in the DPM’s leadership credibility.
UiTM Kedah Administrative Science and Policy Studies senior lecturer Dr Jazimin Zakaria, in commending Anwar’s Cabinet, notes that its composition with “heavyweight” ministers including Fadillah contributes to the effectiveness of the administration.
“Having many heavyweight ministers in the unity government is a bonus, and the results are that various new policies – such as the Madani Economy and others that focus on the interests and welfare of the people – were successfully implemented within this one year,” he says.
Fadillah brings his the experience that he had garnered under four previous prime ministers to the table now, serving as an able deputy to Prime Minister Anwar in the continued efforts to lead Malaysia towards greater success.