Editor’s Note: The main pic depicts a symbolic clocking in of Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz on Saturday (Dec 3) at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry as opposed to today when all of Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Cabinet members reported for duty and attended their maiden Cabinet meeting.
There is now a new twist on Tengku Zafrul’s whereabouts with Berita Harian now reported that he is in “Abu Dhabi to attend a trade mission” as opposed to being in Qatar “to watch the World Cup 2022 football matches”.
The source added further told the Malay daily that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) would issue an official statement on the matter tomorrow (Dec 6).
ONLY 27 out of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 28 Cabinet members attended the maiden meeting which he chaired this morning.
There was one absentee in the form of International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zaftul Abdul Aziz not because the minister is physically unwell but because he has “a business in Qatar”, according to Berita Harian.
“The matter was confirmed by an official of the Prime Minister’s Office today who informed the minister has business in Qatar. However, he did not elaborate (tight-lipped) on the matter,” reported the Malay daily citing a source.
Meanwhile, a source told MalaysiaNow that the former finance minister had attended the symbolic ceremony of clocking in for the first time as a minister at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry soon after having taken his oath of office at the Istana Negara on Saturday (Dec 3) instead.
A check on social media revealed that many netizens were fuming over Tengku Zafrul’s blatant disregard for Anwar’s ‘generosity’ of appointing him as a minister on a Senatorship ticket despite losing the contest for Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat in the recent 15th General Election (GE15).
“He went to watch football with his best friend,” teased Blackwidow Zero321, referring to a social media post which mentioned that “a minister with the Senator status skipped a special Cabinet meeting as he has to be an accompanying minister for a royal visit (probably to Qatar).
TukangJualKek proposed to Anwar “to slash Zafrul’s salary by 50%” while picasso 🇲🇾 wondered if the former finance minister in his new capacity “will be able to bring back Qatari investors given that big bosses are now hanging out in Qatar (for the World Cup 2022).”
Earlier, FocusM reported that financial blog Financial Twitter has cited Tengku Zafrul’s “shameless lobby” for the Finance Minister portfolio by leveraging his royal connection as having left Anwar with no choice but to assume the Finance Minister post himself.
“After losing in the GE15, it’s incredible that he has still has the cheek to demand to be returned to the Finance Ministry through backdoor – Senatorship,” revealed the blog headlined “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: From DAP’s Sacrifice to Zafrul’s Shameless Royal Lobbying for Finance Minister” dated Dec 4, 2022.
“This is the reason why Anwar, despite having said earlier that he would not consider holding the Finance Minister position had no choice but to take the portfolio himself. Besides Zafrul, UMNO also fought for it.”
Having faced a bombardment of brickbats ever since Anwar made public his appointment as the International Trade and Industry Minister on Friday (Dec 2), political critic and veteran journalist Kee Thuan Chye called on Tengku Zafrul to resign “if he has any sense of dignity”.
“People hentam (whack) you, people don’t want you, and still you are so thick-skinned to carry on being a backdoor minister?” lambasted the author of Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More! (sequel to No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians). – Dec 5, 2022