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Friday, February 28, 2014

MCA eyes 3 cabinet positions

A cabinet reshuffle is on the cards soon and MCA is working hard to obtain at least three cabinet positions and two deputy posts.
Najib Liow Tiong Lai PutrajayaPETALING JAYA: Following last Sunday’s decision to rejoin the government at all levels, MCA is now expected to be given three cabinet posts and a minimum of two deputy ministerial posts after a cabinet reshuffle.
A MCA source told FMT that the MCA leadership prefers to have the posts of transport minister, health minister and housing and local government ministers returned to them.
It is said that MCA’s president Liow Tiong Lai would like to return to the health ministry, which he served until the May general election last year.
Meanwhile, deputy president Wee Ka Siong is an engineer by training and would be an ideal candidate for the vacant transport minister’s post.
The third post is likely to be given to the party secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan. The Tanjung Malim MP is third most powerful leader in the party.
However, the source said should Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak shun their requests on health and housing portfolios due to political difficulties, MCA would be asking for the alternatives; human resources minister’s post and one minister’s post in the Prime Minister’s Department.
It is speculated that the current Human Resource Minister Richard Riot might be assigned to handle the natural resource and environment portfolio after a cabinet reshuffle.
Riot would replace G Palanivel, who in turn will be placed in the PM’s office to take charge of the Indian affairs. The post fell vacant after P Waythamoorthy resigned from all government positions earlier this month.
It is said that in order to accommodate an MCA leader in the PM’s Department, a special portfolio has to be setup on Chinese affairs.
Alternatively, the MCA leader could substitute Idris Jala as the minister in charge of performance management and delivery unit (Pemandu).
It was reported in a Chinese daily that Idris was mulling his resignation out of frustration on the government’s handling of the “Allah” issue.
Meanwhile, the source said the two deputy posts that MCA was vying for were from the finance and education ministries.
The party has also set its sight on the posts of deputy home minister, deputy tourism minister and deputy youth and sports minister.
With this speculation, all eyes are now on Najib to conduct a cabinet reshuffle which is expected as early as end March.

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