Updated 4:51pm, 13 April 2009
KUALA LUMPUR, 13 April 2009: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has asked Barisan Nasional (BN) component leaders who have any complaints about their representation in the cabinet line-up to see the prime minister.
He said such a matter should not be discussed openly as they should respect the prerogative of the prime minister to appoint ministers, and this was nothing new but had happened all along.
“So, whatever dissatisfaction they have, it’s better to go and see the prime minister and there’s no need to make public statements on the matter.
“We should give the chosen ministers the chance to shoulder the responsibility, and after all they had already taken their oath of office,” he told reporters after handing over his duty as international trade and industry minister to the new minister, here, today.
Muhyiddin was asked about the reported dissatisfaction of some MIC leaders over the size of the party’s representation in the cabinet and wanted those appointed (from MIC) to be withdrawn.
However, MIC deputy president Datuk G Palanivel had reportedly said that he was not aware of any meeting of top party officials on 10 April to consider a proposal to pull out the party’s representatives in the cabinet.
“We don’t want any confusion to arise. So, it’s not good for the matter to be discussed openly. In the BN spirit, we uphold the PM’s prerogative (in choosing the cabinet line-up),” Muhyiddin said, adding that the matter needed not be brought up to the BN supreme council.
On the transformation that must take place in Umno, he said he had been informed by the other component parties that were also carrying out transformation efforts following their general assemblies.
“I think the transformation has begun but the momentum cannot be seen yet. It’s still early as we had our last general election and formed a government only about a year ago.”
Muhyiddin said transformation could not happen within a short time and he had stated before that this year and next would be the most challenging time for Umno and BN.
He said like Umno, the other BN component parties also needed some time to become stronger.
“But making the parties stronger requires good planning and strategising with public opinions and other important factors taken into consideration,” he added.
Also present at the handing-over ceremony were the new International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, his two deputies, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan, and the ministry’s secretary-general Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Mamat.
Later, speaking at a luncheon with senior officers of the Deputy Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya, Muhyiddin said generating economic activities to ensure growth amid the global economic slowdown would be the government’s main concern.
He also said that it would be a challenge for him to assist Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak build a strong and hardworking cabinet, with the people being their priority.
“Besides that, my task will be to see how the responsibilities are entrusted to the ministries and their agencies and carried out effectively.”
Muhyiddin said efforts must also be made to enhance racial relations and cooperation in the spirit of “One Malaysia” and towards achieving developed nation status in 2020.
In this context, Muhyiddin urged civil servants to serve effectively in order to assist the prime minister in fulfilling the people’s aspirations. — Bernama