Liow Tiong Lai named Malaysia transport minister; reshuffle includes other MCA and Gerakan reps

(From left) Wee Ka Siong, Liow Tiong Lai and Mah Siew Keong. -- PHOTOS: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
(From left) Wee Ka Siong, Liow Tiong Lai and Mah Siew Keong. -- PHOTOS: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Liow Tiong Lai has been appointed the new Transport Minister, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Wednesday.

His deputy Wee Ka Siong and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong have been appointed Ministers in the Prime Minister's Department, Mr Najib said at a press conference.

Three MCA vice-presidents were appointed deputy ministers: Mr Lee Chee Leong, deputy minister for international trade and industry; Mr Chua Tee Yong, deputy finance minister; and Ms Chew Mei Fun, deputy minister for women and family development.

"Representatives from MCA are returning to represent the Chinese community, and representatives from Gerakan are returning to the Cabinet," Mr Najib said when unveiling the additions to the current line-up.

The transport minister post is traditionally held by MCA, but following the last general election, the party, then under the leadership of Dr Chua Soi Lek, decided not to take up government positions as a result of its dismal performance.

However, when Mr Liow - a former health minister - took over the reins, an extraordinary general meeting reversed the decision not to accept Cabinet appointments.

Prior to Mr Liow's appointment, the transport portfolio was held temporarily by Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who took the lead during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

With the new faces, the Malaysia Cabinet now has 34 ministers.

"We have to take into account the interests of all communities, that our promises to the people will be adhered to," said Mr Najib.

The Star newspaper quoted him as saying he did not plan to have such a large Cabinet, but joked that "no one has volunteered to leave Cabinet".

All the new appointees would be sworn in on June 27.

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