by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) has not dismissed a possible Cabinet reshuffle following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) devastating defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election last Saturday.
Changes to the Cabinet, which has been the country’s core administration for more than 18 months, could happen before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ 2020 Summit, which will be held in Malaysia in November next year.
The PM said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) meeting yesterday agreed on the need to make changes to the Cabinet.
Dr Mahathir, who is also Bersatu chairman, warned that any changes at the federal level must be done in a subtle way as the country will be hosting the APEC Leaders’ Summit.
“We had a long deliberation on the Tanjung Piai loss to find out the cause of the defeat which we have accepted.
“Firstly, perhaps that this party is not yet matured enough, the structure is not yet completed, not only in Tanjung Piai but also in other places.”
“Then the issue of high cost of living and finally, we are of the opinion that there are some needs to do a Cabinet reshuffle,” he said in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday.
He said as the PM, he is responsible to make the changes based on the feedback and advice provided.
“I hear their opinions and will consider their requests,” he added.
Dr Mahathir had pledged that PH will conduct a thorough, serious and honest post-mortem following the devastating defeat in Tanjung Piai.
PH candidate Kairmaine Sardini lost the six-cornered fight byelection by a majority of 15,068 to the Barisan Nasional Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.
Dr Mahathir was reported as saying that he had expected a loss of not exceeding 2,000 votes.
The loss had heightened calls by some sections within the governing coalition for Dr Mahathir to step down. Dr Mahathir had said it was not the right time for him to do so.
Bersatu’s partner in the PH coalition, Parti Keadilan Rakyat is also embroiled in its own internal political tussles with a split in the party’s base in Sarawak.
On the Cabinet reshuffle, Dr Mahathir said such a move must be done in a very careful manner as it could impact the country’s wellbeing.
He did not specify when the Cabinet reshuffle would take place but it would happen before APEC summit.
“It is not going to be today or tomorrow but after we do an in depth study of the ministers’ performance. Then we can discuss about a Cabinet reshuffle,” he said, adding that any changes would require the endorsement of all parties in the coalition.
“It is not easy because it involves five parties in this Cabinet. So, we will discuss with them in a few days,” he added.
The changes are not expected to be too radical to ensure the success of the APEC Summit.