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PM Anwar still finalising Malaysia’s list of Cabinet ministers

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is still putting the final touches to his Cabinet line-up and contrary to some media reports, will not be naming them on Thursday.

Datuk Seri Anwar spent the entire afternoon on Wednesday focusing his full attention on the Cabinet composition – with other appointments cleared from his schedule.

Highly placed sources said there had been intense lobbying from partners of the unity government.

“The list will probably be trimmed to maybe 25 ministries but he (Anwar) is certainly juggling as this is unprecedented.

“He has to take into account many political interests, and yet, trim down the Cabinet to a decent size,” one source added.

Under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s tenure as prime minister, there were 32 ministers, while Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob led a government with 31 ministers.

It has been speculated that there could be two Deputy Prime Ministers with Umno president Zahid Hamid being touted as one of them, and another possibly from Sarawak.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)’s Datuk Fadillah Yusuf, who was Works Minister, has been speculated by the media to be the one taking the second DPM post.

Mr Anwar’s unity government coalition has three major factions - his Pakatan Harapan with 82 seats, Barisan Nasional with 30 and GPS with 23, making a total of 135 seats in the 222-strong Lower House. Mr Anwar said he also has support from other factions and smaller parties to control 148 seats, or two-thirds of Parliament.

Mr Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, one of four PH members, is almost certain to keep the powerful Finance Minister post. Should a Finance Minister II post be created, then it might go to Umno, a member of BN.

Another key position is the dominant Home Affairs Minister portfolio which both PKR and Umno are eyeing.

Speculations that the Cabinet is ready and that the Cabinet line-up announcement would be announced Thursday emerged after the Istana Negara (national palace) Facebook account posted on Wednesday four photographs showing the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah receiving the Prime Minister.

It was reported that His Majesty had granted an audience to Anwar on Tuesday, which then led to talk that the complete list of the Cabinet had already been presented to the king.

It was understood that while the possible appointment of Zahid as DPM has become an issue among PH leaders and supporters, they also acknowledged that he was a key figure in the formation of the coalition government.

“The harsh reality is that without Zahid, there is no PH-led unity government. We have to consider that... Let Anwar have the space to draw the list but there will be no announcement tomorrow (Thursday), as of now,” the source added. - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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