The Five-Man Cabinet, For Now

Mahathir is a bit unclear at his latest PC

Only 3 names revealed.

Mahathir Mohamad began by saying — at his press conference — seven more will be named later, and was adamant there should be no deadlines set on something so important.

He then alluded to a final 25 ministers in the cabinet.

That too has no deadline.

The council of elders has been named with ex-finance minister Daim
Zainuddin, ex-Bank Negara governor Zeti
Akhtar Aziz, still billionaire Robert Kuok, ex-Petronas chairman Hassan Merican and UN Economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

So for now, Malaysia knows Mahathir is at the top, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as number two, plus Defence Minister Mat Sabu, Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Not nice to look at

Two things from this.

First, either the parties could not agree during Pakatan’s Council of Presidents meeting, or the look of the 10 on a list may have been not great public relations.

Save us Private Mat Sabu

I don’t believe they are waiting for the BN meltdown to end before naming the ten, because they already have additional 15 spots when they name the full Cabinet later.

I think it is less about disagreeing and more about the Cabinet list looking more “acceptable” when it is a full 25, and every interest is covered by its appearance.

Succession plans

Second, Muhyiddin Yassin is deputy prime minister in waiting. When Anwar has completed the expected cycle — released, regroup in PKR, contest in a by-election, win it, Mahathir steps down as PM and then his old deputy receives the vote of confidence in Parliament — then several things occur rapidly.

Wan Azizah will also step down. No husband and wife team. Malaysians like their soap opera, but that would be too much, even for us.

Muhyiddin will ascend to number two, in kind of switching from a Pribumi-PKR to a PKR-Pribumi top two.

Mahathir will join the council of elders, and become a mentor minister like how his old friend Lee Kuan Yew was.

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