Handing over ministerial duties is mature politics, says Tok Pa

Former international trade and industry minister Mustapa Mohamed hands over his duties to his successor Darell Leiking.

PETALING JAYA: Former minister Mustapa Mohamed today said the handing over of ministerial duties to the new minister was a sign of mature politics.

He said this after officially handing over his duties to his successor Darell Leiking, who was sworn in as the new international trade and industry minister yesterday.

The new deputy minister, Ong Kian Ming, was also present at the ceremony.

Mustapa was the third ex-Barisan Nasional (BN) minister to do so after former health minister Dr S Subramaniam turned up at the health ministry for a handing-over ceremony to his successor Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad much earlier, and Khairy Jamaluddin handed over his duties to incoming Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman today.

Mustapa, who had been minister for international trade and industry since 2009, added that attending the handing over ceremony was part of the “new politics” in the nation.

“We have to mature along the way and progress in life. This is politics in the country and we have to move upwards,” he said.

Official handing over sign of new culture

Meanwhile, Leiking said he was glad that Mustapa, commonly known as Tok Pa, had agreed to attend the ceremony.

“We want to have a new culture and we will continue our communications with Tok Pa. He has agreed to be available to give advice and guidance,” said Leiking.

He said he would also have to be prepared to face Mustapa, a veteran politician, in Parliament during question time.

To this, Mustapa replied, “They have been active as opposition leaders. I hope to do a better job than them in the opposition.”

Mustapa, 68, had been dubbed the “ultimate salesman” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) when he went around the country explaining the need for Malaysia to be part of the agreement. He had also done a good job of marketing the country internationally.

Leiking said he and his deputy would be meeting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to discuss what direction to take.

“I want to make Malaysia really big in industry and trade,” he said.