THE new government appointments announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday was due solely to the recent Malaysian Chinese Association's new leadership line-up.
Normally this would be an internal party problem of interest to its members and the community. The difference this time is that the former MCA president, Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik, resigned as Transport Minister as well, thus leaving a vacancy in the Cabinet.
It is also normal for the Prime Minister to appoint another leader from the same party to join the Cabinet either in the same portfolio or in another capacity.
In this case, the MCA's new deputy president, Datuk Chan Kong Choy, who was a Deputy Finance Minister, was promoted to be the new Transport Minister.
For this reason, most of the promotions were confined to MCA government members; some were elevated while others were given new responsibilities.
Chan's finance position was taken over by Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, who was the former Deputy Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. Her appointment is seen as a promotion even though all ministers and deputy ministers are considered as equal.
However, Dr Ng's transfer could be regarded as a setback for the Tourism Ministry. It is seldom that someone could have made such an impact on any ministry as Dr Ng did.
Since joining the ministry in 1999, she was directly credited with helping to significantly swell the number of tourists here, especially from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Her dynamism and enthusiasm for the job was infectious and she was able to fire up the imagination of the industry and impressed tourism officials in those countries she was responsible for.
Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir has lost a very able deputy and it is up to her successor, Datuk Fu Ah Kiow, to carry on with the good work in bringing in the tourist crowd.
Fu's previous appointment was parliamentary secretary to the International Trade and Industry Ministry. The Mentakab MP is a Science graduate of Universiti Malaya and holds a Master's degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Science from Cranfield Institute of Technology, Britain.
The other parliamentary secretary who was promoted to Deputy Minister was Datuk Donald Lim, who left the Transport Ministry for the Information Ministry.
On the whole, it was a good week for the MCA as it was rewarded with a new deputy minister's post, bringing its total to seven. In addition, it has four ministers though the number of its parliamentary secretaries has been reduced from three to two in return for an additional deputy minister's post.
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