Call on Najib to reduce his bloated jumbo-size Cabinet to about 20 Ministers in keeping with his Government Transformation Programme and the policy of “minimum government, maximum governance”

The first casualty of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Cabinet expansion yesterday, adding three Ministers and three Deputy Ministers to an already bloated Cabinet and government, is Najib’s Government Transformation programme and “people’s first, performance now” policy.

If other parliamentary democracies can have leaner and smarter Cabinets, like United Kingdom (22 Ministers), Australia (19 Ministers) and India (24 Ministers) – including the Prime Minister – why must Malaysia continue to have one of the most bloated Cabinets in the world?

We also have the dubious distinction of having the most number of Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, increasing from eight to ten with the appointments of MCA Deputy President Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong yesterday – although Najib is still at a loss as to what portfolios to give them.

Even now, after more than a year’s appointment after the 13th General Elections in May last year, there is confusion galore as to what the eight Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department are really doing and in charge of in the Najib administration.

With the addition of Wee and Mah to the present battalion of eight Ministers in the PM’s Department, there is going to be even more confusion galore as to what are their respective responsibilities, functions and roles if any.

Wee and Mah will get a chair, table, office, car, staff and other Ministerial perks but they will have no ministries or portfolios to take charge!

In fact, they are no different from Ministers without portfolios.

Since Malaysia can blaze the path to have the most number of Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department, may be Malaysia can also pioneer a new Cabinet designation – Minister for Sinecures (from Latin sine = “without” and cura = “care”), i.e. Ministers without responsibility, role or work.

But if Najib is serious about Government Transformation Programme with the “People First, Performance Now” policy which he launched on becoming the sixth Prime Minister in 2009 as the basis for the transformation of Malaysia, he should embrace the “minimum government, maximum governance” principle by slashing his bloated jumbo-size Cabinet to about 20 Ministers.

Najib should take a leaf from the Australian example where until 1956 all Ministers were members of the Cabinet.

The growth of the ministry in the 1940s and 1950s made this increasingly impractical, and in 1956 Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies created a two-tier ministry, with only senior ministers holding Cabinet rank.

This practice has been continued by all governments since, except the Whitlam Government.

Since the introduction of the two-tier ministry, meetings of Cabinet are attended by members only, although other ministers may attend if an area of their portfolio is on the agenda.

At present, Australia has a 19-member Cabinet (with the Prime Minister), 11 Junior Ministers and 12 Parliamentary Secretaries.

Is Najib serious about a Government Transformation Programme and implement a downsizing of the present bloated Cabinet by introducing a two-tier Ministry system of Cabinet and non-Cabinet junior Ministers before the next 28-day budget parliamentary meeting from Oct. 7 to Nov. 27?

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 7:31 pm

    The faithful and loyal are rewarded mah – never mind a bloated Cabinet.

  2. #2 by bangkoklane on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 10:02 pm

    It’ll be good to list out all the salaries, perks and pensions. Good to let the rakyat know what they are paying for. Don’t stop at PM’s electric and water bills. Especially now that we try hard to use less electricity and water

  3. #3 by digard on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 10:29 pm

    Not only is the cabinet bloated; that would be just so and so.
    The laughable part, the one where once again Malaysia shows to the world what clownishness it can actually demonstrate (while most other nations would simply be ashamed) is the headcount of ministers in the PM’s department! 10. Ten!! This is half the ministerial governance of any off-the-shelf nation; alone in the PM’s department. And then compare staff count and expenditure of the PM’s department over the last few years. I have lost track, but know for sure that within a few years, the head count has doubled. While the numbers at the other ministries have not gone down at all.
    So what more of work – and supposedly better service to the rakyat! – can one expect from those huge numbers? Alas, I can guarantee already today: nothing and none (better service).
    So we may ask, what all this is good for? Two reasons spring into the mind: ever tighter control (Najib does not seem to trust his own ministers), and employment opportunities for large swathes of unemployable people. Something like a target of ‘Each Malay family has a member in the PM’s department’, maybe? Then UMNO will be confidently sitting in the chair forever!
    … But I digress. Malaysia probably has a world record on ministers in a Prime Minster’s Department.
    Once again, one would wish that Malaysia one day manages to take the head out of the sand, and stop its myriad of infantile records and finally start scoring real goals!

  4. #4 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 26 June 2014 - 11:48 pm

    Don’t worry Now you can have MINISTERS available for every occasion to cut ribbon and show their ignorance to the world! We have painted ourselves into the corner of racialism which permeates at every instant anything is to be done. No national leader seems able to project himself as Malaysian in action and this has already oozed into the younger generation; there is no better way to disintegrate any nation. Just wait for another decade down the road; when Petronas halves its income and the African nations start to produce palm oil in competition with ours.

  5. #5 by Noble House on Friday, 27 June 2014 - 3:11 am

    But according to the DPM, ain’t the size that matters – it’s the effectiveness!

    Wonder what he meant by that!

  6. #6 by Justice Ipsofacto on Friday, 27 June 2014 - 9:34 am

    There are four sides to a table and all of them have already been taken. Without moving some people out to make way for incoming ministers where the heck would the newly appointed chinese ministers be seating?

    Ans: Corners. Obviously!

  7. #7 by pulama on Saturday, 28 June 2014 - 8:02 am

    ///bloated jumbo-size Cabinet///
    Guess how many members of Cabinet!
    Now, 35 minsters and 27 deputy ministers!

    full list at PM Office website, 27 June 2014

  8. #8 by cskok8 on Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 10:20 pm

    By the time you include the parliamentary secretaries; there are hardly any backbenchers left. Should sack all the 10 stooges in the PM’s dept who are duplicating some other ministries at best; and at worst doing nothing useful

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