All focus now should be on Covid-19 outbreak


REASSIGNMENT of officers and agencies within the government might be put on the backburner as the administration needs to focus on mitigating health and economic issues caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Political analyst Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping said any change in the roles and structure will only be practical once the Parliament is back in session in May.

“The alarming increase of Covid-19 cases proves to be the main reason for those in charge not to be shifted at the agencies.

“They should remain there and focus on the Covid-19 crisis, unless they are really ineffective to do so,” Hoo said.

He said changes that could be made would strongly depend on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin getting the full mandate once the Dewan Rakyat begins its session.

“The first general principle depends very much on May 18. If he does not succeed, he will not be able to do anything,” Hoo told The Malaysian Reserve.

Currently, Perikatan Nasional comprises Umno, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS, MIC and MCA with the support of Gabungan Parti Sarawak.

Previously, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration already replaced most of the top posts at government’s strategic agencies and government-linked companies (GLCs) with technocrats and professionals.

Among them are investment banker with a doctorate degree in nuclear physics Dr Hasnita Hashim who now chairs the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), and former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz as Permodalan Nasional Bhd group chairman.

PH also picked former Securities Commission Malaysia executive chairman Tan Sri Mohammed Nor Md Yusof as Lembaga Tabung Haji chairperson.

Hoo said should Muhyiddin obtain his mandate on May 18, he can focus more on the smaller details to keep the administration well-oiled.

“As of now, it is better for everything to remain status quo,” Hoo added.

He said in the next 60 days, the probability for the government to make any change to the GLCs and agencies is rather low.

“I think they are functioning well now,” Hoo said.

On Monday, Muhyiddin announced a roster of 31 Cabinet ministers and 38 deputy ministers, more than the previous Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration of 26 ministers and 23 deputy ministers respectively.

For instance, the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment Climate Change (MESTECC) has been divided into three different ministries. This could lead to changes in all the agencies that are currently parked under MESTECC.

The three ministries are the Environment Ministry, Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, and the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation.

After the 2018 general election, the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development was reintroduced, which resulted in speculations that Mara would be divided into several agencies parked under various ministries accordingly.

However, Mara has remained intact as an entity that was placed under the Rural Development Ministry.