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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cabinet reshuffle disappoints Sarawak leaders

Several senior politicians from Sarawak have expressed disappointment over the federal cabinet reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) senior vice-president Douglas Uggah Embas reportedly said many had expected that another Sarawakian lawmaker would fill the plantation industries and commodities minister post he vacated.
“I am very disappointed that no MP from Sarawak was considered to take over my former position," Uggah is quoted as saying by The Borneo Post today.
"We believe one of our MPs is qualified enough to be appointed. I am speaking on behalf of the Pesaka wing in PBB."
Uggah resigned as minister following his appointment as a Sarawak deputy chief minister in May, after he won the Bukit Saban seat in the last state election.
Meanwhile, fellow deputy chief minister James Jemut Masing pointed out that Sarawak had lost one full federal minister’s post.
“As a fellow Sarawakian, I’m disappointed that Douglas Uggah’s position has been allocated to a West Malaysian politician," Masing is quoted as saying by The Borneo Post.
"We’ve lost one full minister, and in compensation we are given a deputy minister for Henry Sum as a replacement.
"I wish all the new appointees all the best in assisting the prime minister in facing the coming 14th general election."
However, the Parti Rakyat Sarawak president conceded that the federal cabinet members' appointment is the prime minister's sole prerogative.
The Borneo Post reported that their disappointment stemmed from earlier speculation that Kapit MP and Rural and Regional Development Deputy Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi or Saratok MP William Mawan Ikom would be appointed to the post vacated by Uggah.
Instead, the position went to Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong.
Meanwhile, Sarawak BN secretary Stephen Rundi said the state coalition had presented their case for the Kapit MP to represent the party and become minister, Bernama reported.
"But Sarawak BN acknowledges that the appointment of ministers is the prerogative of the prime minister.
"He has explained the rationale of his cabinet reshuffle and we respect his decision and stand steadfastly behind his leadership.
"And it is our ardent hope that he will include us in his bigger reshuffle in the near future and thank him for appointing Henry Sum Agong as domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism deputy minister,"  Rundi, who is also PBB secretary-general, said.

Sarawak BN Backbenchers Club chairperson Abdullah Saidol also congratulated Henry on his appointment.
But he cautioned there may be serious deliberation among the Sarawak rural communities that had hoped a representative from the state's middle zone would be appointed as a full minister.
"As I said before, BN's big win in the state election should not be taken for granted by the federal government because if many promises are not fulfilled, this issue will be a pertinent political propaganda by the opposition in the next parliamentary election and this time it's going to be tough to counter," Abdullah said. - Mkini

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