Ministerial appointments reflect stable power transition, says academic

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a news conference following the general election in Petaling Jaya May 10, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a news conference following the general election in Petaling Jaya May 10, 2018. — Picture by Razak Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — The recent appointment of key ministers by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sends a signal to the market that Malaysia is undergoing a stable transition of power to the Pakatan Harapan government, said a Singapore-based academic.

Dr Oh Ei Sun, Adjunct Senior Fellow of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, said the appointment of DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng as Finance Minister-designate, would go further in reassuring the international business community that Malaysia was serious in tackling corruption and valued the rule of law in its business dealings.

“That is because Lim, as the Penang Chief Minister previously, has at least a 10-year record of handling the state’s finance,” he told Bernama News Channel on Tuesday when asked to share his views on the recent appointment of Cabinet members.

Apart from Lim, Parti Amanah Negara President Mohamad Sabu was named as Defence Minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Home Minister.

The three will join the Prime Minister and his deputy, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, in a Cabinet line-up that will eventually have 25 members.

Touching on the allegation of corruption against Lim, Oh said: “I think most Malaysians are viewing this (as) nothing but a political persecution by the previous regime.”

On Mat Sabu’s appointment as Defence Minister, he said: “At first it seems rather strange. This is somebody without military experience, but let us not forget all the other former Ministers of Defence also did not have any experience — not Datuk Seri Hishamuddin (Tun Hussein) and not Datuk Seri Najib Razak.”

Oh said it was important to ensure that the military remain confident that a change in government would not bring about a disruption.

“Somebody like Mat Sabu, with his religious credentials, will go a long way in reassuring the military that this country will have a very peaceful transition,” he noted.

On Muhyiddin’s appointment as Home Minister, the academic said the primary reason was that the Home Ministry was a big ministry comprising different departments.

“We need somebody with a strong and long administrative experience to handle such a huge ministry,” he explained.

Regarding Wan Azizah, Oh said Malaysia created history by appointing a woman as Deputy Prime Minister,

This would go a long way towards assuring gender equality in this country, he said, adding that he hoped Malaysia would, one day, have a woman Prime Minister. — Bernama