Thursday, May 16, 2013

Najib Razak's New Cabinet

Malaysians will have learnt of the composition of the Malaysian cabinet post-GE13. With an eye to keeping his job as prime minister, Najib Razak has stocked his cabinet with seventeen UMNO stalwarts in key positions. East Malaysians are also benefiting because thirteen were named as ministers. Additionally, he gave posts to the heads of Malaysia’s biggest bank (i.e. Maybank's Abdul Wahid Omar, who turned industrial relations on its head when he clashed with NUBE and started an in-house union), a corruption watchdog (i.e. the compliant Paul Low) and a Hindu rights group (i.e. the scavenging rodent named Warthamoorthy).

So when Najib mentioned about national reconciliation, he meant it in jest. Malaysians knew all along and so they didn’t get excited. We know that for Najib, self-preservation is certainly more important than national interest.

Low’s appointment was interesting and I suspect Najib is just using him to pretend to demonstrate an interest to combat rampant corruption. Assuming Low accepts the position, he has compromised himself and he should step down as President of Transparency International (Malaysia). In  any case, he is one of only two Chinese in the entire cabinet – the other is Mary Yap, the Tawau MP and PBS member who will be the Deputy Education Minister 1 – and for the first time in the country's history, there are no ministers from the MCA (Hooray!)

As I examined the line-up, I have this sinking feeling that is illustrative of my foreboding frustration. Where is Malaysia heading to? There are no bright sparks and I fear our future is going to be dim. I guess I am a pessimist and as long as Najib is in power, I don’t believe we will see reforms, except the cosmetic ones. And so, we must continue to seek reformasi because BN has spectacularly failed!

On Wednesday, I was at AFC House in KL's Bukit Jalil for the AFC Toastmasters meeting where I was the Invocation Presenter. My speech revolved around the meeting’s theme, which was reformation! It gave me a pleasing impression that a majority of Toastmasters are also for Ubah!  I was somewhat surprised to listen to Ian Lai repeating his speech that I heard on Monday this week at Cititel MidValley. I actually enjoyed the evaluations more than the speeches and overall, my score for this meeting was a 7 over 10.

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