DAP man sees an expansionary Cabinet to reward allies

Kelvin Yii of Sarawak DAP welcomed the new ministry for Sabah and Sarawak affairs, and Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah of PBB says the new Cabinet is a vibrant one.

KUCHING: A Sarawak DAP lawmaker has described the new Cabinet line-up announced by Muhyiddin Yassin today as an “expansionary Cabinet”.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said with 70 people in the list of ministers and deputy ministers, it was likely to appease and reward those who had switched sides.

“In comparison, there were only about 58 people in the previous Pakatan Harapan line-up. One of the reasons we kept a small Cabinet was to keep costs down and optimise human resources,” he said.

However, Yii welcomed the new ministerial portfolio for Sabah and Sarawak affairs.

Maximus Ongkili is the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with responsibility for Sabah and Sarawak affairs, with Hanifah Hajar Taib as the deputy minister.

He said he hoped the ministry would not just be a “token ministry” to reward those who had supported and enabled the formation of this government.

“I hope the ministry will properly address the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights that have been eroded over all these years.

“A good platform will be the agreement under the Special Cabinet Committee for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) formed under the Pakatan Harapan government where 17 out of 21 items were already agreed and some are already in the process of implementation,” he said.

Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen criticised Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) for supporting the Umno-PAS led federal government.

“In 1976, GPS, under its previous body of Barisan Nasional, had compromised Sarawak’s rights in respect of its natural oil and gas resources.

“This time, GPS has done greater injustice to Sarawakians by putting PAS in the federal government”, he said, describing PAS as religious bigots.

He said having PAS in the Cabinet posed a threat to the secularism of the Federal Constitution and Sarawak’s social structure.

GPS would be unable to shield Sarawak from the policies and laws implemented by the federal government. Education, healthcare, financial system and the business ecosystem would all be subjected to input from the PAS ministers and their ideology, he said.

PBB vice-president Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told FMT that he is happy with the newly announced federal Cabinet line-up.

“I’m sure this ‘vibrant team’ will be able to make Malaysia great in the eyes of the world and steer the country to greater heights.

“The new ministry of Sabah and Sarawak affairs also shows the prime minister’s understanding of the need to address MA63. I hope that the eroded rights of Sabah and Sarawak will also be addressed soon,” he said.