Apr 8, 2009

PM Najib to unveil Cabinet on Thursday

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been meeting with Barisan Nasional component party leaders Wednesday as speculation mounts that he will unveil a leaner Cabinet on Thursday.

On Monday, the MCA submitted a list of candidates for the new Cabinet line-up based on the party’s hierarchy and the candidates’ status in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, its president Ong Tee Keat said.

He said the MCA hopes that the party’s current allocation -- four ministers and six deputies -- would be retained in the new line-up.

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's new premier Najib Razak will unveil his Cabinet on Thursday, officials said, with expectations for a streamlined team aimed at helping him push through promised reforms.

"The announcement of the new Cabinet line-up will be made at the PM's office at 3:00pm (0700 GMT) on Thursday," an official in Najib's office told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The convention is for Najib, who was sworn in last week, to seek the consent of Malaysia's king before announcing the new Cabinet.

Local media have said that Najib is likely to reveal a slimmed-down Cabinet, which currently embraces 27 ministries with 32 ministers, and that coalition partners of the ruling party UMNO have been told they may get fewer seats.

Insiders say Najib is likely to retain the finance portfolio -- seen as critical during the global economic crisis -- and that UMNO deputy leader Muhyiddin Yassin is tipped to be deputy prime minister and home minister.

Najib has unveiled an ambitious agenda to heal race relations in the multi-ethnic country and to overhaul UMNO, which was humbled in elections last year by voters who see it as corrupt and out of touch.

But the new premier was dealt a rebuke by voters Tuesday, losing two of three by-elections seen as an unofficial referendum on his leadership.

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