Why do we need such a bloated cabinet?


– Chua Tong Ka
The Malaysian Insider
26 June 2014

Let’s look at the latest cabinet reshuffle.

It rattles me because there was none. We just keep adding numbers.

It seems Malaysia does not have an upper limit on the number of ministers and deputy ministers. The prime minister said a bloated cabinet was unavoidable.

But the issue is not whether it is avoidable or unavoidable. The issue is whether it is tenable or not tenable, workable or not workable and acceptable or unacceptable.

Probably the argument was because of Barisan Nasional’s coalition politics – yes, a coalition of many political parties must try to give ministerial posts to different parties and factions within the coalition.

But is this the essence of coalition politics? I thought we form coalition to formulate policies that are inclusive to cater for diverse people with different needs, not to dish out goodies to pacify different political parties within the coalition.

That is not serving the people but themselves. Sorry for being naive, but sometimes it is good to remind ourselves.

Appointing coalition partners to meaningful positions in the cabinet is different from appointing them as tokens.

Can’t we see excessive tokenism conveys lots of insincerity and dishonesty in the way we organise our government.

Previously, coalition partners were given relatively insignificant cabinet portfolios. Now I think they are given no portfolio except to draw ministerial salary and perks.

I think it is a shame. It is a shame for the PM to do it and it is also a shame for the ministers concerned to accept it.

Is there a limit to the size of the cabinet? It is not just the financial implications we should be concerned with. It is how the government is supposed to work efficiently if we have so many ministers hanging around.

Have we thought about ministers creating hindrances and disservice among themselves because of overlapping and conflict of interests and responsibilities?

I mean 10 full ministers in the PM’s Office alone, in addition to a DPM. How much is UK bigger than Malaysia? What about Australia and Japan? Do they have the number of ministers in the PMO the way we do?

And what do these ministers in the PMO do? They monitor integrity, set KPIs, watch unity, look after Parliament and monitor how people discuss religions, etc.

But are these not the responsibility of PM and the respective ministers concerned? Are we saying the various ministers and the agencies under them need other ministers in the PMO to tell them the importance of integrity and the need for KPIs?

If we can accept Singapore is more efficient and less corrupted than us, please also accept that in Singapore, there are no ministers for integrity and KPIs.

They don’t even have an anti-corruption commission, they only have a bureau. They don’t have a national integrity institute or a minister in charge of integrity. They only have a PM who has the credibility and the authority to get result and enforce compliance.

Seriously, if we want to look at the sincerity of the government, we look at the way it is organised. It is more revealing than listening to speeches and statements made by the government. – June 26, 2014.

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  1. #1 by winstony on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 8:44 am

    I think it is a shame. It is a shame for the PM to do it and it is also a shame for the ministers concerned to accept it. – End of quote

    If you think that becoming a minister just to be a malingerer is a big deal, there is one other anomaly that is even a bigger and more serious problem.
    If I am not mistaken, someone who was defeated in an election can also become a minister.
    By the so-called “back-door” way.
    By being made a senator and then appointed a minister.
    So, isn’t this defying the will of the electorate?
    Isn’t this making a fool of the electorate as well as the election system?
    Where else in the world can a loser become a minister?
    Only in this country!
    That’s why it’s not surprising to say that salt fish in this country can swim!!!
    And the wonder of it all is that nobody but nobody take this demolition of the electoral system seriously!!!
    So, why have elections at all?

  2. #2 by Justice Ipsofacto on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 9:04 am

    Oh boy!

    I mean look. You ran a tap to my hse and allowed me to enjoy clean running water for years. And now you want to chop that off all in a sudden?

    Nah. That aint possible. Its not gonna happen just like that. For a start, I wont let that happen.

    So tell me, how on earth can jib go a-chopping, eh?

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 9:53 am

    Why are people even asking this sentence? We know why its bloated but the hard truth is why we ask it is because the simple minded can understand it.

    Its not the bloated cabinet that is particularly new surprise. WHAT should alarm us is that despite its size for so long, when you look at the depth, the new generation, the FUTURE – ARE just STILL AS PATHETIC AS CURRENT CROP OF LEADER.

    ENTITLEMENT, OVER-ENTITLEMENT of the power winners is what got to this stage. The don’t feel they have to be truly responsible for, their personal interest, and personal priorities take precedent and not to be sacrificed for the public, the people.

    AND Its the same entitlement, unaccountability that is the reason why, decades of waste of entitlements and abuse of power, we have Malaysian decide its better to be a terrorist in Syria then work at difficult science, technology and English for their own good, their community and their country,

  4. #4 by Cinapek on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 11:41 am

    Cabinet appointments in Malaysia are not based on needs. It is based on the “buy” political culture. The PM has to buy off every one of his coalition partners. Everybody has to be rewarded and allowed to dig their grubby hands into the gravy. If no portfolios? No problem. Just park them in the PM’s Department. These people are devoid of dignity or pride. They just want a “minister” title and the perks.

    Clearly, Najib has lost control over the Cabinet positions and appointments when he admitted that no members of the present Cabinet “volunteered’ to resign when he was planning his reshuffle. why should anyone resign if you can enjoy the perks? But Najib, you are the PM. You decide if the person should “resign” or not. You decide who is the best person to appoint to which portfolio. You decide who are best people to be part of your team to govern this country and govern it well. You do not depend who “volunteers” to resign. That is a cop out and a sign of weakness.

  5. #5 by john on Friday, 27 June 2014 - 1:45 pm

    AS LONG AS, it does not cost Najis a cent ( from his own pocket ); anything, is of endless possibilities for him. All at the RAKYAT, NATION full expense.

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