SOURCES within the political circles suggest that a Cabinet reshuffle is imminent, with the likely replacement of the current Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
Two informed sources speaking on the condition of anonymity indicate that the decision to replace Dr Zaliha stems from disagreements with Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the management of the Health Ministry (MOH).
“But it is understood that she and the PM (Anwar) had disagreements over the running of the ministry, among others,” the source told news portal FreeMalaysiaToday.
The reasons for Dr Zaliha’s potential removal remain unclear but the high-level PKR source hinted at disputes over the ministry’s administration as a contributing factor. If the speculated change takes place, the frontrunner to assume the health portfolio is Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek.
Simultaneously, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad are anticipated to fill the vacancy left by Fadhlina in the Education Ministry.
According to the PKR source, the education portfolio is earmarked for PKR and within the current governmental structure, Nik Nazmi is deemed the most suitable candidate for the role.
In the wake of the death of Salahuddin Ayub in July, the position of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister has remained vacant. The source suggested that Shah Alam MP Azli Yusof may be appointed to inject “fresh blood” into the Cabinet in this role.
“The appointment of a second finance minister is unlikely as Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, already has two deputies.”
However, a government source has not ruled out the possibility entirely indicating that if it were to occur, the appointee would likely be a technocrat from outside the current pool of MPs.
Moreover, the upcoming reshuffle is expected to involve several deputy ministers swapping portfolios, bringing changes to the current Cabinet structure.
The government source, who opted to remain anonymous, emphasised that Dr Zaliha’s potential removal would likely be the most significant change in the impending reshuffle.
The reshuffle is reportedly scheduled to take place next week, following the Kemaman by-election on Saturday (Dec 2).
Speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle has been rife and gained currency after Anwar himself said in October that he was considering it. – Dec 1, 2023