KUALA LUMPUR, August 23 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet line-up must have competent people who know their portfolios and work to include all communities in Malaysia, said political analyst Assoc Prof Bridget Welsh.

She said it is critical to have competent candidates in key ministries such as finance, health and social welfare.

“The people appointed must know what they are doing and not necessarily having experience in that position. The issue is rebranding and creating a much more coordinated government.

“Therefore, in this regard, the cabinet needs fewer people but with the right individuals in the right job,” she said on Bernama TV’s Midday Update programme, here, today.

The 30-minute discussion, which highlighted the appointment of Ismail Sabri as the country’s ninth prime minister and the National Day celebration was hosted by Jessy Chahal.

Welsh said the cabinet formation would be the first major test for Ismail Sabri as he has to manage the dynamic relationship with Bersatu, the different factions within Umno, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and also offer some concrete measures to the opposition.

Meanwhile, Crisis Management Centre founder Nordin Abdullah, who was also a guest on the programme, said the first challenging task for Ismail Sabri’s leadership is the formation of a Cabinet; managing talents and appointing the right people in the right places, and getting them in the job quickly.

He said transformation in managing and handling the Covid-19 crisis needed to be focused on by Ismail Sabri before giving attention to the implementation of Undi 18, a key political reform that needs to be faced by the new government.

“The pandemic has created a reality that makes every decision critical and with very little margin for error. There is an opportunity and indeed a need to develop ‘strategic calm’ to allow the best minds in the country to solve the myriad of problems at hand,” he added.

Ismail Sabri was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister last Saturday following the resignation of his predecessor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on August 16. — Bernama