Communications and Digital break-up to save Fahmi’s face - Khairy

15 Dec 2023 08:27pm
Khairy Jamaluddin - Screenshot from the Keluar Sekejap podcast
Khairy Jamaluddin - Screenshot from the Keluar Sekejap podcast

SHAH ALAM - Former Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin says the split of the Communications and Digital Ministry into separate entities was just a political move to save Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

"The one thing that I am not fond of in this cabinet reshuffle is the separation of Communications and Digital Ministry into two ministries.

"This move seems purely political to me to save Fahmi's face, my opinion is that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was compelled to split the ministry as a way to save Fahmi," he said this during the Keluar Sekejap Podcast programme with former Umno youth deputy chief Shahril Sufian Hamdan, today.

Khairy questioned the need to establish a new ministry and said that digital matters could easily be placed under the Communications Ministry rather than have a bloated cabinet.

"When we establish a new ministry, it is not only creating a ministrial role, it is also replicating bureaucracy whereby we will be recreating roles for instance the role of secretary general in said ministry," he said.

Shahril added that the same critique could be said of Khairy, who also served in large Cabinet which was similar in size to the current one.

Khairy agreed with Shahril's point but then argued that the size of a large Cabinet needed not be replicated if it was not seen as being effective for the government.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced a reshuffle in his Cabinet, where he announced that the Communications and Digital Ministry would now be operating as two separate ministries.

Current Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil will now headed the Communications Ministry, and former communications and multimedia minister Gobind Singh Deo will head the Digital Ministry.

Anwar had said that the split will enable the government to better focus on its digital transformation policies amid the rapid evolution of digital technologies.

According to media reports, Anwar justified the split by saying that the digital sector in Malaysia needed a dedicated ministry, partly because digital transformation was a major plank of the unity government, but also because the digital sector itself was rapidly evolving.

"There are new data centres emerging and the issue of artificial intelligence to be looked into,” he told a local news outlet.

"There is also the need to enhance understanding of digital and its issues among students. It is a challenging task and I believe this particular issue is daunting. That is why we have the new ministry," he was reported as saying.

Anwar also said the Communications and Digital Ministry has not been effective at communicating the government’s digital transformation policies, which have received a barrage of criticism in traditional and social media.

"Communication with the media and social media is a challenge," Anwar said in the report.

"The criticisms levelled against us are that while policies are impressive, their impact and the dissemination of information have not been effective or satisfactory. So, this must be the focus of the Communications Ministry," he was reported as saying.