KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has named Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as his deputy in his national unity government Cabinet line-up today.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, was pivotal in giving Anwar the necessary parliamentary majority to form the latter’s coalition government after the 15th general election concluded in a hung parliament.
Ahmad Zahid will also take on the key rural and regional development portfolio.
His controversial appointment as deputy prime minister will unnerve some as he is still standing trial for a corruption case where he is accused of 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, the charity organisation he founded.
Anwar also selected Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof as his other deputy prime minister who will also take on the plantation industries and commodities portfolio.
Anwar today said his national unity government adopted several principles in forming the Cabinet, including taking into account Pakatan Harapan as the biggest bloc in the coalition followed by BN and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.
A total of 28 ministers were announced, four fewer than Anwar's predecessors Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, but more than the 25 he had targeted.
Anwar also said the deputy ministers will be named at a later date.
The swearing-in of Cabinet members has been fixed for 3pm tomorrow.
Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan won the most seats of any coalition in the November 19 general election, but was still short of the 112 needed for a simple majority to form the government on its own.
After several days of negotiation, it finally reached an agreement for a coalition federal government with BN and Gabungan Parti Sarawak, with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah and Parti Warisan joining later.