Mar 19, 2008

PM Abdullah's new cabinet sworn in

While the new cabinet members were sworn in today, there were several resignations too. Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad has resigned as Barisan Nasional and UMNO secretary-general, both Tengku Azlan and Anifah decline deputy minister's post. It has been reported that former Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor will replace Radzi Sheikh Ahmad as the new UMNO secretary general.

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Malaysia's cabinet was sworn in Wednesday in a ceremony at the royal palace, a day after Prime Minister Abdullah unveiled the new line-up.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak led the 32 ministers and 35 deputy ministers as they took the oath of office before King Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Abdullah cut down the size of the cabinet from 90 to 68 positions, and axed several political veterans in an effort to rejuvenate his administration after unprecedented losses in March 8 polls.

The ruling coalition surrendered its two-thirds majority for the first time in four decades, and lost four more states in a drubbing that has triggered calls for Abdullah's resignation.

Trade minister Rafidah Aziz, who had held the post since 1987, was the biggest casualty of the reshuffle, which also saw some government critics given influential roles.

In another sign of reform plans in the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), former home minister Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, who was dropped from the cabinet, resigned as the party's secretary-general Wednesday.

"I have offered my resignation as secretary-general of UMNO and of Barisan Nasional and the prime minister has accepted my resignation," said Radzi, who role had placed him among a handful of top party leaders.

"I feel that I cannot work effectively any more in the present circumstances," he said, but sidestepped queries over whether he had decided to resign rather than face dismissal.

"It is (Abdullah's) prerogative, he wants to have new faces," he told reporters.

"In politics there are always people taking over, no one is indispensable in politics, it may appear to be but life goes on."

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