See More on Facebook

Politics

Approval and infighting after Mahathir names three Cabinet members

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s choices of three key Cabinet members, revealed on Saturday (May 12), have won the approval of some observers while triggering discontent among some members of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition.


Written by

Updated: May 15, 2018

Making good on his election promise to prevent Prime Ministers from holding the position of Finance Minister, Mahathir appointed Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary general Lim Guan Eng to the coveted role. The son of veteran DAP politician Lim Kit Siang, Lim was jailed twice by Mahathir, and has served as both a senior politician and chief minister.

Party Amanah politician Mohamad Sabu, imprisoned twice under the Internal Security Act, was appointed Defence Minister, while Parti Bersatu politician and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin was named Home Minister.

Lim Guan Eng’s appointment as Finance Minister has been welcomed by some businessmen and observers, as it is believed that he will better understand the financial needs of Malaysians, The Star reported.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research executive director Eme­ritus Professor Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid told The Star that Guan Eng had “two essential ingredients” to manage an economy.

“As a trained chartered accountant, he has an analytical mind.

“As a senior politician and former chief minister, he has demonstrated a good understanding of the country’s socio-economic issues,” he is quoted as saying in The Star.

Guan Eng’s immediate tasks, he said, would include making good on Pakatan’s manifesto on GST, managing the country’s debts, balancing the fiscal deficit and reviewing policy on subsidies especially on fuel, crude oil and gas prices.

One of Pakatan Harapan’s election pledges was to abolish the highly unpopular 6 per cent GST within 100 days of being elected.

Another who praised the development was education consultant Lim Bee Hoon.

“Lim Guan Eng is action-oriented. He has brought socio-economic development to Penang,” he told The Star.

“His policies are people-friendly and the state is very clean now.”

Mahathir’s choice of Mohamad Sabu as Defence Minister was also viewed positively by some analysts and army veterans, who believed he would shine in the role as due to his rich experience as a fearless politician imprisoned twice under the Internal Security Act, The Star reported.

However, while some observers approved, Pakatan Harapan squabbled.

In a statement released after Mahathir’s announcement, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli questioned why no PKR members were present at the meeting to finalise the ministers and said that the party assumes that the decision is not final, as all four parties must approve decisions regarding the appointments, The Star reported.

PKR won the largest number of seats in the May 9 election.

Mahathir has since announced that each component party will be fairly represented in the Cabinet and positions will be assigned based on who won the most seats during the election, The Star reported.

He also said yesterday evening that Lim will only be able to assume the role of Finance Minister if he is cleared of charges of corruption.

Lim is currently facing trial in Penang, charged with using his position as a public officer to gain gratification for himself and his wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in south-west Penang to a company, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd, The Star reported.

He is also charged with using his position to obtain for himself a plot of land and a bungalow from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8mil, a price which he allegedly knew was not commensurate with the property’s market value at the time of RM4.27mil, according to The Star.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

Beijing slams unrest and backs HK govt’s use of lawful means to tackle it

Protests have shut down Hong Kong for the past several days before a government crackdown. Beijing yesterday condemned the unrest that broke out in Hong Kong over the city’s extradition Bill as an organised riot, and said it supported the local government’s use of lawful means to resolve the situation. Asked if the central government supported the use of rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong was against any act that undermines the city’s prosperity and stability. “Any civilised and lawful society will not tolerate the destruction of peace and tranquillity,” he said. “The Chinese central government strongly condemns all types of violence and supports the Hong Kong government to handle the matter according to the law.” Chinese state media


By The Straits Times
June 14, 2019

Politics

Taiwan expresses support, solidarity with Hong Kong

Taiwan advocacy groups call for retaliation against Hong Kong extradition bill. Dozens of civic groups in Taiwan called on the government on June 11 to adopt concrete regulations in response to Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill, suggesting tighter controls on investments from Hong Kong and visits by its civil servants, for example. In a statement issued ahead of the expected second reading of the bill Wednesday, the groups urged the Taiwan government to submit a countermeasure proposal to the Legislative Yuan during its extraordinary session on June 17. The Taiwan government should also issue a statement, asking the Hong Kong government to halt its review of the bill, which could put the personal freedom of Taiwanese nationals at risk, as it would allow the Hong Kong government to send suspects to China for trial, the groups said. Despite fierce opposition by an est


By ANN Members
June 13, 2019

Politics

China blames ‘lawlessness’ for Hong Kong

Lawlessness undermining rule of law in Hong Kong, says China Daily editorial. The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has explained many times the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s fugitive law are meant to better protect Hong Kong society by plugging the loopholes in the existing laws in order to enhance the rule of law. Rather than pushing through a bill against the wishes of Hong Kong society as some have tried to portray, the government has made changes to the proposed bill more than once in response to concerns expressed in the community. As a result, most of the members of Legislative Council of the special administrative region, who are accountable to their voters, now support the amendments. Nor is it a hasty or unnecessary move. Indeed the need for an extradition agreement with the mainland was acknowledged by government officials and legal experts ahead of H


By China Daily
June 13, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong protests turn violent

At least 72 people taken to hospital during clashes with police. At least 72 people were injured and taken to hospital during clashes between police and protesters on Wednesday (June 12) over a contentious extradition Bill, said Hong Kong authorities. By night time, police officers were still in a stand-off with protesters on Queensway, not far from Admiralty Station, even though most of the protestors had dispersed following the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Earlier, police fired rubber bullets at protesters after they declared a “riot” as – for the second time in days – clashes broke out between police and protesters demonstrating against the controversial extradition Bill.


By The Straits Times
June 13, 2019

Politics

Nepal Prime Minister’s speech in UK is filled with irony

Nepal’s prime minister celebrated democratic freedoms in his UK speech but it contradicts what he’s doing at home. While Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s Monday speech at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom valorised the importance of freedoms, rights and democracy, back home, his government has been criticised for what many see as an authoritarian turn, stifling freedom of speech and steadily encroaching on human rights. In his speech at the Oxford Union, Oli said that as someone who had spent over five decades fighting for democratic rights, and as a result, been imprisoned for 14 years, including four years in solitary confinement, he knew “how important access to education and freedom of speech are for people and society to grow, deve


By The Kathmandu Post
June 12, 2019

Politics

Hong Kong leader defiant despite protest over extradition bill.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says extradition Bill has to be passed as opponents call for fresh protests. A day after what organisers touted as an unprecedented protest with a record one million people taking to the streets to protest against proposed changes to an extradition Bill, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has shown no signs of backing down even as opponents called for fresh protests. Mrs Lam told the media late in the morning on Monday (June 10) that the proposed amendments to the Bill that will go through a second reading on Wednesday (June 12), “will help to uphold justice”. She noted that the intense discussions over the last four months since the idea was mooted in early February “is quite unprecedented”.


By The Straits Times
June 11, 2019