RUMOURS are trending on social media that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will proceed with a much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle and that the first victim of the reshuffle will be Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
Dr Zaliha and Anwar are said to be in complete disagreement over the running of the Health Ministry (MOH).
A local news portal today said the cabinet shake-up is on the cards and will likely involve the appointment of a new health minister.
It cited a high-level PKR source who spoke on condition of anonymity. The source said the removal of Dr Zaliha from the portfolio is unclear though the source also said it is understood that she and the prime minister had disagreements over the running of the ministry, among others, according to news portal FreeMalaysiaToday.
Moreover, Dr Zaliha recently made headlines after her ministry dropped the generational endgame (GEG) from the provisions of the revised Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill.
Several lawmakers trained their guns on Dr Zaliha with MPs from both sides attacking her in the Dewan Rakyat last week, alleging that the minister and her ministry had kowtowed to tobacco lobbyists and industry players to snuff out the GEG clause from the bill.
Furthermore, Dr Zaliha asserted that the only reason why the provision was dropped from the revised bill was because the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ (AGC) viewed the GEG clause as “unconstitutional.”
However, former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said several ministers in the Anwar Cabinet had voiced their opposition to the GEG.
On the other hand, rumours are that Education Minister Fadhilan Sidek would likely replace Dr Zaliha at MOH while Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad would take over the education portfolio.