I DON’T think that Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or any other premiers for that matter have the absolute powers when it comes to the exercise of executive powers.
Whether the powers are within the theoretical domain of the PM or not, consultation is the very basis of decision making in democratic societies.
The argument that Anwar should not be pressured in going for cabinet reshuffle is no argument at all. Nobody is pressuring Anwar except his statements to the media about the impending nature of the cabinet reshuffle that have excited interest on the matter.
Of course, there is no great urgency as the matter can be prolonged for some time immaterial of the adverse effects. However, objectively speaking, can Anwar delay the reshuffle after having witnessed the deplorable performance of some of his ministers?
The further Anwar delays the reshuffle, the popularity of the government might be at stake. Yes, the Madani government has been in power for more than 10 months but come Nov 24, the unity government will be one year in power.
Can we say that the government has achieved stupendous results? It is not that cabinet reshuffle is like a magic wand that will transform the government overnight.
It might represent a ritualistic exercise to improve the performance of certain ministries that have been caught in a whirlpool of incompetence and inefficiency.
Weeding out the weak
Anwar might take his time but collateral damage cannot be averted the longer he keeps some of his inefficient ministers in the positions. The general public is fully aware of the ministers whose performances have not been up to the mark.
Anwar might have the absolute power do what he wants in the executive realm but the longer some of the ministers are retained, the ultimate victim will be the untested Madani government.
It will be well and good on the part of Anwar to say words of endearment to the Western audience but he should not forget that what he says at one level will be seen relative to another level. If he says all the right things that might be endearing to the Western audience, then he must be translate these ideas in congruence to the urgent needs of Malaysia.
Some UMNO leaders having benefitted handsomely from partnership with the Madani government are urging Anwar to take his time in going for the cabinet reshuffle. The party having lost touch with the base is in no position to analyse the various problems of the country.
While the Malays are on the verge of abandoning the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN0 coalition – the anchor of the Madani government – Anwar has no option but to go for a significant cabinet reshuffle to the extent of dropping some ministries and bringing to the fold new ones.
It is not the exercise of replacing the old with new one but, the litmus test is how the government is going to address and resolve issues such as rice shortage, currency depreciation, mounting traffic woes, brain drain, the quagmire of the educational system, water shortage, external debts and others.
It cannot be the case of Anwar “playing the fiddle” while Malaysians are suffering. – Oct 2, 2023
Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also the former deputy chief minister II of Penang.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.