Malaysian PM Najib Razak promotes loyalists in Cabinet reshuffle

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) looks on during a Ramadan event at the Putra mosque in Putrajaya, on June 25, 2016.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (right) looks on during a Ramadan event at the Putra mosque in Putrajaya, on June 25, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reshuffled his Cabinet on Monday (June 27), promoting two MPs to become full ministers, and moving two of his loyalists into more powerful positions.

He also made five new deputy minister appointments. But what caught everyone by surprise was the unexpected resignation of Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanazdlah.

The changes were Datuk Seri Najib’s second Cabinet reshuffle since a series of Wall Street Journal reports almost a year ago shook the government with allegations that the premier had millions of dollars transferred into his personal accounts from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
 

 

Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing, and said the funds transferred to his personal accounts in 2013 were a donation from Saudi Arabia. Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali has said there won’t be an investigation of the Premier in the case.

The previous Cabinet shake up in July last year saw deputy prime minister Muhyiddan Yassin and senior minister Shafie Apdal sacked as Mr Najib removed rebels following the 1MDB fallout.

 

This time around, the appointments were made to fill up vacancies and allowed him to promote his loyal supporters in Umno and the 13-party Barisan Nasional coalition that governs Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur MP Johari Abdul Ghani is the new Second Finance Minister.

The second new full minister is Selangor MP Noh Omar, who was appointed Minister for Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government.

Former Urban Wellbeing Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan - a staunch defender of PM Najib in his 1MDB travails - is the new Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Datuk Abdul Rahman will be in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), an agency that sets Malaysia’s socioeconomic targets.

The fourth ministerial change announced at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya was Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong, who was a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

He is now the new Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, taking the helm of a ministry that includes oversight of the huge palm oil and timber industries as part of its portfolio.