PETALING JAYA: An academic has cautioned Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim against giving Cabinet posts to former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and former senior minister Hishammuddin Hussein, saying it would be politically unwise.
Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said appointing the two Umno members would upset Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Pakatan Harapan leaders since both had rejected PH.
He noted that both Ismail and Hishammuddin had made clear before the formation of Anwar’s unity government that they did not want Barisan Nasional to work with PH.
“Giving them Cabinet positions will empower them in Umno and this is the last thing Zahid wants,” Azmil told FMT.
“The prime minister does not need to consider their feelings when forming his Cabinet because he needs to keep Umno in his government. This entails working together with Zahid and his allies.”
Yesterday, a source told FMT the Anwar Cabinet would exclude Hishammuddin and Ismail despite their vast experience in government because of their opposition to cooperation between BN and PH.
Another academic, Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University, said it was still up to Umno’s top leadership or any party in the unity government to propose who among their MPs should be in the Cabinet.
“If Umno wants Hishammuddin and Ismail, I don’t think Anwar will reject them,” he said.
“But if they do not want to appoint those two, why should Anwar risk a crack in his government over two out of 30 MPs from BN?”
Anwar is expected to name his Cabinet line-up this week.