New Malaysian PM unveils cabinet

New Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob unveiled his cabinet on Friday, forming a line-up similar to his predecessor with no Deputy Prime Minister being named.

In a televised speech, Ismail Sabri said the ministers will have to prove themselves in a short amount of time as the country is still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I will ensure this cabinet focuses on having a high-performance work culture. Therefore, each ministry must draft its short-term and long-term plans and achieve set goals.

“Hence, each ministry must prove their initial performance within the first 100 days,” he said.

Many of those named had previously served under former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned on August 16 following the withdrawal of support by several of his political allies.

International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Works Minister Fadlillah Yusof and Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin, all of whom served in Muhyiddin’s cabinet, are mostly in the same capacity.

Former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has taken over the health portfolio. while former Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has taken the Foreign Ministry, a position he held under the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from 2018 to 2020.

Among the portfolios that remain unchanged include the Finance Minister, Transport Minister and Home Minister.

Before Ismail Sabri’s appointment, Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah instructed any new Prime Minister being appointed will seek a confidence vote in the lower house of Parliament as soon as possible to prove the support of the majority.

The next parliamentary session is scheduled from September 6-30.

Prior to announcing the cabinet line-up, Ismail Sabri met opposition leaders to secure cross-party cooperation.

A joint statement was issued proclaiming to cooperate in the fight against Covid-19.