Return of Gobind, Dr Dzul crucial in influencing Cabinet effectiveness, says think tank

THE depth of experience possessed by Gobind Singh Deo and Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is invaluable to guide newer members in the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim-led administration, said a think tank.

Speaking on NST’s “Beyond the Headlines”, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) CEO Dr Tricia Yeoh noted that the complexity of government operations and understanding pertinent issues often takes considerable time for ministers to grasp, which impacts efficiency.

As such, the return of the two ministers who previously held positions in the previous Pakatan Harapan administration plays pivotal roles in influencing the effectiveness in the Cabinet, she added.

“I think the fact that you have two previous ministers who were in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) 1.0 administration actually does help because like it or not, when you are in the administration, experience counts for a lot,” Yeoh said.

“It’s not just experience in the subject matter which is a lot to deal with already because from my conversations with some of these former ministers it took them at least one year, if not two, to understand the issues at hand [and to] navigate the complexities of government services and the various [related] agencies involved.”

To recap, Dr Dzulkefly, who is also the Kuala Selangor MP, makes a return as Health Minister following the recent Cabinet reshuffle, while Damansara MP Gobind helms the newly-established Digital Ministry.

Yeoh further highlighted the need to take this experience and share that with the younger and newer ministers who did not have the advantage of being in the government previously.

Inclusivity over racial rhetoric

Meanwhile, the IDEAS CEO went on to reiterate that the nation should shift from rhetoric focused on racial or religious identities within the Cabinet to emphasise the importance of inclusivity.

She said roles such as the Human Resources Minister should transcend and serve the interests of all citizens regardless of their ethnicity.

Yeoh was responding to former Penang deputy chief minister II Prof. Dr P. Ramasamy who said that the Cabinet reshuffle is a big disappointment to the Indians in the country as there were not enough Indian representation in the new administration.

In a Facebook post, the former Perai assemblyman said apart from the appointment of two Indians as deputy ministers, there was no appointment of an Indian as a minister, adding that if Anwar had respect for the Indian community he would have appointed two full Indian ministers and that there are qualified candidates in PKR and DAP.

On this matter, Yeoh acknowledged that relying on racial representation is tricky as it does not shoulder the pluralistic fabric of the Malaysian society.

“As a Chinese person who works in a think tank dealing with public policy and research, I’m not just writing about Chinese issues in the country. I’m writing about the interest of all Malaysians, and I would expect the same from cabinet ministers as well,” she stressed.

According to Yeoh, having Steven Sim Chee Keong at the helm of the Human Resources Ministry does not mean that Indian interests will not be represented.

“Let’s take the Prime Minister for instance. The Prime Minister stands for all Malaysians and that is a position that is required of you,” she added.

“Similarly, when PAS, which champions Islamic values and principles, was in the federal government, it had to moderate its views knowing that being in the federal government means having to represent the interests of all Malaysians.” – Dec 15, 2023


Main pic credit: Afiq Hambali/Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia

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