New Cabinet will be Umno-dominated, analysts say


PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will name his Cabinet this week, which analysts predict will see Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia emerging as the junior partner to Umno in the new line-up.

Dr James Chin, a professor of Asian Studies at University of Tasmania in Australia, expects Umno VP Ismail Sabri to follow the traditional convention of giving more posts for Umno as a nod to his party’s leaders.

“I am sure that this will be an Umno-led Cabinet, as much as it is an Umno-led government,” Chin told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“Why do I say so? By traditional convention, the government is based on the party of the PM. There have been talks that this is a PN (Perikatan Nasional) government but, ultimately, we follow who the leader is,” he said.

Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Mohd Faizal Azumu had reportedly insisted that the new government would be PN-led, as the coalition holds the most number of seats compared to Barisan Nasional and even Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

Chin, however, said such argument is moot considering that it is Ismail Sabri who gets to pick his team, and naturally he would have to choose leaders from his party.

Commenting on the deputy PM post, Chin said the three major component parties of the coalition would want the post as a boost for their respective leaders.

“(But) I think if the PM does not give the spot to a Sarawakian leader, he may have to allocate another ministerial spot for GPS.

“It is his (Ismail Sabri) discretion to appoint a deputy or not, but we will have to see whether he wants to, or not, as there will be too much risk.”

Another plum post in the Cabinet is the minister of finance, which Chin believes would be definitely filled by someone new to replace former Minister Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Aziz, who was a Senator pick in the last administration.

“It is hard to think that Umno would let this post go,” he added.

Another political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said if there is a DPM post in the new Cabinet, it would be contested by Bersatu and GPS.

“It could be better not to have it, but we must remember Bersatu and GPS play a significant part in the government’s formation,” he told TMR.

He said there may not be many changes in terms of the Cabinet’s size, as the government needs to ensure its survivability until the 15th General Election (GE15).

“In the meantime, I think the Cabinet position would help to reduce the political temperature, before GE15.”

He expects a direct rivalry between PN parties and Barisan Nasional once the election is called. “Call it marriage of convenience for now as you may, but this government needs to do all it takes to last before election,” Dr Mohd Azizuddin said.