GEORGE TOWN: Former federal minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican of Umno might be appointed the deputy chief minister I in the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional Penang government.
However, the appointment of Reezal, who won the Bertam seat on Saturday, may upset DAP’s coalition partner, PKR, according to sources in the know.
By convention, the two deputy chief ministers’ posts – to recognise the senior governing partners and major ethnic groups – had been reserved for PKR and DAP in the past.
They were also conventionally assigned to Malays and Indians.
Penang PKR deputy chairman Bakhtiar Wan Chik denied that Reezal had been appointed to the post after congratulatory posters on his supposed appointment made their rounds on social media. Bakhtiar said no decision had been made yet.
It was previously speculated that the post of deputy chief minister I would go either to Mohammad Abdul Hamid or S Sundarajoo.
A PKR leader, who did not want to be named, said one way to placate Umno and PKR in this matter was to do away with the posts altogether and emulate Selangor’s way of recognising senior governing partners through a “senior exco” title.
The alternative is to take Sabah’s model by introducing a third deputy chief minister, another PKR insider said.
Last night, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook confirmed that a BN assemblyman would be part of the Penang government.
The inclusion of one BN assemblyman will likely impact the ratio in the 10-member exco lineup. Since 2008, seven of these members would be from DAP, with the remaining three from PKR.
Sources also told FMT the land portfolio will almost certainly be held by the chief minister, according to convention. Other key portfolios such as local government, housing, transport, and public utilities are expected to go to DAP representatives. Islamic affairs was previously in the hands of PKR.
Exco members who are likely to be prioritised would be those having served two terms or more, including DAP’s Daniel Gooi, Ong Ah Teong and Heng Lee Lee. PKR’s Goh Choon Aik, Gooi Hsiao Leung and Kumaresan Aramugam might be considered, too.
The swearing-in of exco members will be held at Seri Mutiara, the governor’s residence, on Wednesday.