PETALING JAYA – Discussions over a cabinet reshuffle in Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration are intensifying, with insiders firmly believing that changes to the ministerial line-up are imminent and likely to occur between late September and early September. October.
Rumors prevailing in Putrajaya indicate that these changes will materialize before the presentation of Budget 2024 on October 13 Some even claim that Datuk Seri Anwar could make the announcement as early as this week.
A unity government leader hinted that an official announcement on the Cabinet reshuffle could be around the corner, possibly as soon as September 29.
“It must be done before the presentation of Budget 2024 so that the Prime Minister can provide appropriate allocations to all ministries,” the leader said.
A quick check at the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Anwar will be in town this Friday.
“This should not be a surprise because we are talking about Anwar Ibrahim here. Of course he will make changes a year after taking office because he is not someone who is content with mediocrity,” said a government member.
Anwar is said to be keeping things under wraps, with two versions of the reshuffle circulating in the corridors of power and the political sphere.
The first account says the Cabinet will see only a minor change involving the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living, a portfolio previously held by Salahuddin Ayub, who died in July due to a brain hemorrhage.
However, the strongest version indicates that a major review will take place in some ministries, including the Ministry of Human Resources and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change.
“Many of them are worried about speculation that it will be a major reshuffle because it means anyone could be affected,” said a Pakatan Harapan (PH) source.
For now, sources are divided on who will take over the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living portfolio, with some saying it could go to PH ally Amanah’s Adly Zahari, while others noted the ministry will be handed over. to the leaders. from other parties in PH.
Meanwhile, there is high expectation over whether Anwar will appoint a second finance minister, with the precursor being Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, a Malaysian leader with extensive experience in both business and politics.
While some critics accuse Anwar of being too busy to focus on finances, sources said Johari’s appointment would relieve the Prime Minister of handling the huge burden alone.
Furthermore, Johari is no stranger to the Ministry of Finance, having been the second Finance Minister from 2016 to 2018.
“The unity government needs Malay votes. The last elections demonstrated the need for this. Mr Johari has what it takes with Kampung Baru safely tucked away in his pocket (as Titiwangsa MP),” said a Barisan Nasional (BN) leader, referring to a Malay enclave in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
“But there is resistance to this idea because some UMNO leaders fear that Johari could eclipse them,” the BN leader added.