Cabinet reshuffle not urgent, but government must address public despair - Expert
SHAH ALAM - Experts have urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to appoint more proactive ministers in the prospective Cabinet reshuffle, saying that it is an opportunity to strengthen ministries and improve governance.
Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun said some ministries are performing better than others, and that Anwar should appoint more action-oriented ministers in key areas such as health and education.
He also said that Anwar should divest himself from the Finance Ministry and appoint a market-oriented minister.
"This could both stabilise politics and assure markets," he said.
Oh added that it is timely to do so, as there is a vacancy in the Finance Ministry, and Anwar could shuffle around the ministers and add new ones.
"However, what is good for the country, such as efficient ministers helming important ministries, may not be politically feasible, as all ruling parties would scramble for those ministries, but not all have good leaders," he said.
Commenting further, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Ethnic Studies deputy director institute professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib said a Cabinet reshuffle could be seen as an intervention to strengthen ministries after an evaluation process to identify which ministry needs improvement.
"This reshuffle is for the greater good of the people and the state, and it could be necessary for continuous improvement," she said.
Kartini added that a Cabinet reshuffle is also part of risk management, as it requires the government to identify each ministry's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and develop strategies to minimize the risk of losing public trust.
"If the outcome of the reshuffle is good for governance, then it is worth doing," she said.
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Political Science Association Professor Dr Syaza Shukri said a ministerial reshuffle's biggest impact would be showing the people that the government is serious about finding the best person for the job.
"This would convey that the government's priority is the people, not individual ministers.
"It could also boost confidence in the government and lead to better policies for the people," she said.
Syaza added that the reshuffle is not a top priority, but the government needs to address a sense of hopelessness among the people.
"A reshuffle could help to keep ministers on their toes and to show that the people come first," she said.
Syaza also said that the challenge for Anwar is to find the best people for the job while maintaining balance and diversity.
"Some of the current ministers are first-time ministers, while others, especially from the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, have served in previous administrations.
"Anwar needs to carefully appoint people with experience while also being open to new faces for fresh ideas," she said.