Mahathir considers Cabinet reshuffle, Latest World News - The New Paper

Mahathir considers Cabinet reshuffle

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But it may not be a solution to Pakatan Harapa's declining popularity, admits PM

KUALA LUMPUR : The fallout from ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan's (PH) loss in the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor continues to make waves.

PH suffered its worst electoral defeat on Saturday since coming to power last May when the opposition scored a more than 15,000-vote majority.

Following the loss, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief Anwar Ibarhim had to refute rumours that PH leaders were planning to remove Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister after the loss.

Mr Anwar said: "The ones who raise the vote of no-confidence are only those who want a vote of no-confidence. This is a small group on the sidelines of the parties. Otherwise, it has not been raised."

He said he would know because he was in daily contact with senior leaders of PH's component parties.

Dr Mahathir himself sprang a surprise yesterday. He said he would consider a Cabinet reshuffle to address growing public discontent over his government's handling of the country, days after the stinging by-election loss.


Dr Mahathir said leaders in his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia felt a Cabinet reshuffle was needed to address public complaints on issues such as high living costs and the economy.

"Very likely before Malaysia hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit next year," said Dr Mahathir.

Admitting that reshuffling would not be a solution to recover the waning popularity of PH, Dr Mahathir said it has to be done anyway.

He said that the reshuffle should not be "radical" so as to affect the preparations of Malaysia to host Apec.

"It may be before the Apec summit but I do not want too many changes to take place because we need to make the necessary preparations as this involves many world powers and we need to be prepared.

"As the prime minister, I am responsible to reshuffle and I will listen to opinion of others. I will give my own views to making the reshuffle," he said.

"It will not be today or tomorrow as we have to weigh the abilities and achievements of the current ministers. Only after that can I discuss (with component parties) a Cabinet reshuffle.

"My constraint is that although I am the PM, I have to discuss with the other five component Pakatan parties and I cannot easily make my own decisions to change or drop just anyone," added Dr Mahathir.

Pakatan is made up of Bersatu, PKR, Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Nasional and is partnered by Parti Warisan Sabah.

He said that the reshuffle may even bring about new problems and therefore, there is much to be weighed.

"The act of reshuffling is not a solution, it may even be a problem; we have to know the achievements of ministers before we replace them. We need to know what are the capabilities (of the new ones).

"A Cabinet reshuffle is not a solution to our problems that will recover the position of the government," said Dr Mahathir. - THE STAR, REUTERS