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Malaysia's party heads know who is right for new Cabinet, say their top leaders

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysia’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are leaving it to their heads to choose the right candidates for ministerial posts allotted to them, according to their top leaders.

They said meetings had been held to convey their proposals and possible candidates, but that the matter was completely in their chiefs’ hands.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu said although it was the prime minister’s prerogative to choose whoever he wanted to be in his Cabinet, in reality the appointment of ministers from various parties was done through “diplomatic” negotiations between party heads and the prime minister.

“We have left the matter to Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin,” he said, adding that the Bersatu supreme council had met last Saturday (Aug 21) to discuss the matter.

Datuk Seri Faizal said Bersatu MPs backed Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as prime minister, because they wanted to put a stop to politicking and prioritise the people’s interest.

“We did not ask for Cabinet positions but insisted that policies and programmes for the Covid-19 pandemic management be continued,” he said.

“With Ismail Sabri being very much a team player as seen in the previous Perikatan government, Bersatu believes that he will ensure that the Cabinet is a dynamic one.”

Mr Faizal, who is Tambun MP and Chenderiang assemblyman, added: “Perikatan is the biggest bloc supporting the Prime Minister, with more than 50 MPs as we also have Perikatan-friendly independent MPs.

“We hope that the portfolios allotted to Perikatan will be the same as before. Usually, candidates of the various portfolios are decided by the party.

“Our president knows who best fits where. I believe the Prime Minister will listen to suggestions from all parties. It is not right for any party to put pressure on the Prime Minister.

“Most importantly, we are ready to work as a team.”

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said with his party’s 18 MPs having stood by Mr Ismail, PAS was very much part of the government.

“PAS’ support for the current Prime Minister is very much known as we provided solid support for all our MPs when the last government fell,” said Datuk Seri Ibrahim.

“All candidacies for the government posts which PAS is required to fill are the decision and prerogative of party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

“All PAS MPs have to adhere to what the president decides and as the deputy, I will carry out the orders of the president as required.

“That being said, Hadi usually gives his views through the PAS syura council and the central leadership, and the decision of the party is usually made based on consensus.

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Mr Ibrahim added that this was also the approach used by PAS prior to becoming part of the Perikatan Nasional government in February last year.

GPS parliamentary chief whip and Petra Jaya MP Fadillah Yusof said GPS had left the final decision on the choice of candidates to its chairman Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is the Sarawak Chief Minister, and the Prime Minister.

Mr Ismail is expected to announce his Cabinet line-up comprising PN, Barisan Nasional and GPS leaders this week.

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