PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim shared a lighthearted moment with the media today, agreeing in jest that he should reshuffle his Cabinet before the end of the year.
Reporters had approached Anwar after performing Friday prayers at Surau Al-Amin here to ask about speculation that a Cabinet shake-up could take place soon.
Anwar then asked 12-year-old Akmal Afif Yasser Arafat, who was also there to perform the prayers, to answer the queries on his behalf.
“When do you suggest (the Cabinet reshuffle should happen)?” Anwar asked Akmal, to which the boy cheekily responded, “2024”.
The prime minister then asked if he should reshuffle his Cabinet before or after the end of the year. The child replied, “Before.”
Anwar then turned to the media and said he agreed with Akmal’s recommendation.
Earlier today, FMT reported that a Cabinet shake-up is on the cards and will likely involve the appointment of a new health minister, according to two sources in the know.
A high-level PKR source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the reasons for Dr Zaliha Mustafa’s supposed removal from the portfolio were unclear.
In the event that Zaliha is dropped, the source said, the favourite to replace her would be education minister Fadhlina Sidek, while natural resources, environment and climate change minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad would take over the education portfolio.
As for the post of domestic trade and cost of living minister, which has been vacant since the death of Salahuddin Ayub in July, the source said Shah Alam MP Azli Yusof of Amanah might be appointed to inject “fresh blood” into the Cabinet.
The source said the reshuffle would see several deputy ministers swapping portfolios.
Meanwhile, a government source said the appointment of a second finance minister could not be ruled out, although any candidate would be appointed “from the outside”.
The source, who declined to be named, also said the reshuffle is slated to take place next week.
Speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle has been rife, and gained currency after Anwar himself said in October that he was considering it.