KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) — The establishment of four new ministries in Prime Minister Tan Sri Muyiddin Yassin’s cabinet will create an environment for a more systematic and focused governance which is capable of driving the country’s development.
Director at the Centre for Media and Information Warfare Studies, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Professor Datuk Dr Ismail Sualman, said the new ministries would also create a more efficient administration.
Muhyiddin, when announcing his cabinet line-up last Monday (March 9), named the four new cabinet portfolios as Minister of Higher Education, Minister of Environment , Minister of National Unity and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs and the National Unity Minister.
“These new ministerial portfolios, in general, involved the appointment of old and new leaders with experience,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
Ismail said the restructuring of the Ministry of Higher Education was a wise move as it would indirectly further facilitate the smooth administration of higher education in the country.
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“The segregation of the level of education (by having Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher education) is appropriate because the philosophy in higher education, as well as in primary and secondary education is different.
“For higher education, it is more focused on research and development (RnD), ”he said.
On the establishment of the Ministry of Environment, he said, it was important to address issues on the environment, including river pollution due to dumping of toxic waste, like what happened to Sungai Kim Kim, in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
On the setting up of a special portfolio on Sabah and Sarawak Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department, Ismail said, it would ensure the voice of the people in both states is better heard.
“It will also make management of issues related to both states more focus,” he added.
According to Ismail, the establishment of the National Unity Ministry will help the government to better tackle issues involving unity, as well as racial and religious sensitivities.
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Meanwhile, a senior lecturer at the College of Law, Government and International Studies (COLGIS), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said the new face in the cabinet line-up announced by Muhyiddin should be given time to prove their capabilities.
He said this happened in the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, with most of the ministers then not having the experience being in the cabinet.
“They had problems adapting themselves because many took office still with the mentality of an opposition, being the opposition for too long, but this is not the case with the ministers in the new cabinet, comprising mostly of professionals and those with calibre and integrity,” he added.
He said this when asked on six individuals who were appointed as senators to hold posts in the cabinet.
They are the Mufti of the Federal Territories Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who has been appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of Religious Affairs; Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (Finance Minister); MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (Deputy Minister of Education); MCA vice-president Datuk Lim Ban Hong (Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry); Barisan Nasional (BN) executive-secretary Datuk Dr Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad (Deputy Minister of Environment) and Bersatu Youth International Relations Bureau chairman Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (Deputy Youth and Sports Minister).
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Political analyst and lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Center for Social Sciences, Prof Dr P. Sivamurugan said the performance of a government should not be seen in terms of the size of its cabinet, but the efficiency of its administration through the respective ministries.
“The appointment of cabinet ministers is the discretion of the Prime Minister depending on the country needs. So, I don’t see the list of 69 people as ministers and deputy ministers in the cabinet is a problem. It looks big because we have four senior ministers and new ministries.
“It is the quality and achievements that we should see and evaluate,” he added
In the previous PH government, the cabinet was made up of 56 members, with 28 of them were ministers.