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Malaysia’s new Cabinet: who are they?

Less than two weeks after Pakatan Harapan toppled the coalition that had ruled Malaysia for more than 60 years, the country has a new Cabinet.

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Updated: May 22, 2018

The 13 ministers named by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday were sworn in at Malaysia’s Istana Negara on Monday (May 21). The number of ministers will eventually be increased to 25. Here is a quick look at who has been appointed so far.

Minister of Women and Family Development – Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

In addition to being the country’s first female deputy prime minister, Wan Azizah will also be taking on the role of minister of women and family development. The wife of recently released PKR leader Anwar is no stranger to Malaysia’s political scene, having served as a member of parliament since 1999. She is MP for Pandan in Malaysia’s richest state, Selangor.

Home Minister – Muhyiddin Yassin

Barisan Nasional-turned-Pakatan Harapan politician Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed home minister. A well-known face in Malaysian politics, he served as Member of Parliament for Pagoh, a town in the southern State of Johor and was also the state’s chief minister from 1986 to 1995. Muhyiddin was Deputy Prime Minister under Najib Razak but was dropped in a 2015 cabinet reshuffle shortly after publicly criticizing the then prime minister’s handling of the 1MDB scandal. He became president of Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) in 2016.

Minister of Rural Development – Rina Harun

Titiwangsa MP Rina Harun worked in Finance before making the jump to politics. Though she started her political career as a member of Umno and was formerly a Puteri Umno executive councillor, she eventually joined PPBM, and heads the party’s women’s wing.

Education Minister – Dr Maszlee Malik

A lecturer at the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia, Dr Maszlee Malik was appointed minister of education after Mahathir decided against taking the portfolio himself in accordance with one of the coalition’s election pledges. He is the Simpang Renggam MP, having won his seat in GE14 after joining PPBM in March.

Some have questioned Maszlee’s appointment as minister, expressing concern over his alleged support of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, according to The Star.

Minister of Housing and Local Government – Zuraida Kamaruddin

Currently serving her third term as Ampang MP, Zuraida Kamaruddin will be taking on the role of minister of Housing and Local Government.

She is the chief of PKR’s women’s branch.

Minister of Economic Affairs – Mohamed Azmin Ali

Mohamad Azmin will be relinquishing his coveted position as chief minister of Selangor in order to fulfil his new role heading the newly created ministry of economic affairs. He will give up his position once he has found a replacement.

The PKR deputy president is also MP for Gombak, Selangor.

Minister of Transport – Anthony Loke Siew Fook

Anthony Loke Siew Fook has been an MP for 10 years and has made reducing road fatalities and finally solving the MH370 mystery his priorities as Malaysia’s new minister of transport.

Minister of Finance – Lim Guan Eng

The son of DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng is the first Chinese Finance Minister Malaysia has seen in 44 years.

He is MP for Bagan, Penang and has been the state’s chief minister since 2008.

Lim is currently facing charges of corruption and is expected to be tried on July 30.

Minister of Communications and Multimedia – Gobind Singh Deo

Malaysia’s new minister of communications and multimedia is the country’s first Sikh minister. The son of prominent lawyer and politician Karpal Singh, he was first elected to parliament in the 2008 election and was re-elected in 2013 and 2018.

He has promised to scrap the controversial fake news bill rammed through Parliament ahead of the election.

Minister of Health – Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad

A medical scientist and former lecturer, Dzulkefly first entered parliament as a PAS candidate in 2008 when he successfully ran for the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat. Though he lost the seat in the 2013 general election, he managed to reclaim it in the May 9 election – this time as a candidate from Amanah, the party in which he currently serves as strategic director.

Minister of Human Resource – Kulasegaran V Murugeson

First elected to parliament in 1997, Kulasegaran has been appointed minister of human resources.

The Ipoh MP served as the lawyer in the ground-breaking case of M. Indira Gandhi, whose children had been converted to Islam without her knowledge by her husband.

Minister of Defence – Mohamad Sabu

Mohamad Sabu has been part of the political scene for decades, starting out as a member of the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement in 1975. He joined Malaysia’s main Islamist party, PAS, in 1981 and eventually rose to become its deputy president. Mohamad was one of the moderate Islamist leaders booted from PAS during the June 6 party polls in 2015 after which he formed Amanah, one of the parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry – Salahuddin Ayub

Mahathir has appointed the deputy president of Islamist party Amanah Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry. Initially a member of PAS, Salahuddin won the seat of Kubang Kerian in Kelantan in the 2004, but failed to win a seat in the 2013 election. He won both a parliamentary and state seat in the 2018 general election.

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

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