PUTRAJAYA • Political attention in Malaysia has turned to an imminent Cabinet reshuffle, with three incoming federal ministers and two deputy ministers following the recent elections.
Two ministerial posts in the Prime Minister's Department are vacant - one in charge of the government's performance unit called Pemandu, and the other in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).
Prime Minister Najib Razak is also set to name a new plantation industries and commodities minister.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition won big in the Sarawak state polls last month, and retained the seats in two by-elections last week in Selangor and Perak.
One minister who needs to be replaced is Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who stepped down after his second three-year term as senator ended.
A non-MP can serve in the Cabinet after being made a senator for two terms. Mr Idris was chief executive officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
Another non-MP who served in the Cabinet as a senator was Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar, the former chief of Malaysia's biggest lender Maybank. He ran the EPU that sets general targets for the economy. Mr Wahid decided to step down after one term as senator.
A third ministerial post is that of plantation industries and commodities minister that was held by Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.
The MP gave up his post to become a Sarawak deputy chief minister after last month's state polls.
His former deputy at the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, Datuk Noriah Kasnon, died in a helicopter crash during campaigning in Sarawak.
Her death led to the Sungai Besar by-election in Selangor. There will be a new deputy plantations minister.
And lastly, the government needs a new deputy minister for Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives.
The previous office holder, Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah, became Kedah Menteri Besar in February.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK