Archive for March 18th, 2008

Support for Azizah as Parliamentary Opposition Leader

In the March 8 general election, the three Opposition parties of PKR, DAP and PAS denied the Barisan Nasional its hitherto unbroken two-thirds parliamentary majority winning a total of 82 parliamentary seats – PKR 31, DAP 28 and PAS 23.

I have been asked by reporters as to who would be the next Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

The subject has still to be discussed by the three Opposition parties as the most pressing concerns have been the formation of new coalition state governments particularly in Penang, Perak and Selangor for the DAP.

Although the three Opposition parties have yet to meet on the matter of the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Parti Keadilan Rakyat President Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the ideal candidate as the new Parliamentary Opposition Leader with PKR having the most parliamentary seats of the three Opposition parties in Parliament.

I support Azizah as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader for the 12th Parliament, and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader when he is re-elected to Parliament after the expiry of his civil disenfranchisement barring him from standing for elective office in mid-April.


Abdullah’s new Cabinet – mixed signals with no luxury of political honeymoon

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s new Cabinet announced today sends out mixed signals – that he is starting to “hear the truth from the people” after failure to honour his pledge for 42 months and which was the cause of the Barisan Nasional’s devastating electoral defeat in the March 8 general election as well as the return to the old politics of patronage.

The surprise appointment of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who was dropped as an Umno candidate in the recent general election, as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with the portfolio of legal affairs will be most significant if it reflects a belated commitment to institute far-reaching judicial reforms to restore confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary to internationally-acclaimed world-class standards which it enjoyed until two decades ago when it suffered repeated assaults and rocked from one judicial scandal to another.

The appointment of Umno Information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib as Minister for Rural and Regional Development however signifies a return to the old politics of patronage, completely at variance with Abdullah’s pledge 42 months ago to lead a clean, incorruptible and trustworthy government.

The relinquishment of one of the two key portfolios by Abdullah, who held both Internal Security and Finance under the previous administration, is a development in the right direction as it was clear that Abdullah was unable to do justice to the treble responsibilities of Prime Minister, Internal Security Minister and Finance Minister and was setting a bad example not only to other Cabinet Ministers but also to the entire government.

I hope the appointment of new Ministers in charge of key ministries, like Syed Hamid Albar as Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister, Ahmad Shabery Cheek as Information Minister, Abdul Shahrir Samad as Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, Khaled Nordin as Higher Education Minister, Rais Yatim as Foreign Minister and Azalina Othman Said as Tourism Minister is because of an equal commitment to “hear the truth from the people” and initiate reforms in their respective jurisdictions. Read the rest of this entry »