Abdullah should form a leaner, smaller and more professional Cabinet instead of expanding the Cabinet to “give jobs for the boys (and girls)” in the BN coalition
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): I am alarmed at press reports that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi proposes to increase the Cabinet size from 30 with four additional Ministers.
As an earnest of his seriousness in having a more dedicated, purposive and productive public service, Abdullah should form a leaner, smaller and more professional Cabinet instead of expanding the Cabinet to “give jobs to the boys (and girls)” in the Barisan Nasional of 14 parties.
It will reflect adversely on Abdullah’s pledge for a committed public service to have a bloated and flabby Cabinet, where some 40 per cent of the 219 MPs sit in the government front-benches as Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries.
The first reform of the government system that Abdullah should institute is to cut down the number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to remove from the government front benches many members who do not have any substantive or meaningful portfolios or work – but just to fulfil the quotas for the 14-party Barisan Nasional coalition.
Is Abdullah prepared to start his new premiership after getting the unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority by wielding the broom to clear the cobwebs in the government, as reducing the number of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to not more than 25 per cent of the total of 219 MPs?
With nine-tenth parliamentary majority, Abdullah should be conscious and sensitive of the need to observe and uphold democratic principles of consultation and consensus in the new Parliament, starting by consulting the Opposition on the appointment of the new Speaker and the two Deputy Speakers for the new Parliament.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman