KUALA LUMPUR • Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has submitted the names of 15 additional Cabinet members to the Malaysian King, a source told the Malaysiakini news site yesterday. The list was submitted on Wednesday.
"There will be a total of 28 ministers, two each from Sabah and Sarawak. Deputy ministers are also included, along with names for senators who might be appointed as well," he told Malaysiakini.
The number of deputy ministers and prospective senators were not specified, the report said. A non-MP in the Lower House (Dewan Rakyat) can be appointed a member of the Cabinet after being sworn in as a senator in the Upper House (Dewan Negara).
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran confirmed to the news site yesterday that the names have been submitted. "I am not privy to it, but I know (the names have been submitted) because the PM did say this to us. It is just a matter of time, today, Monday, Tuesday (for the appointments) to take effect," he told the news site.
Together with Tun Dr Mahathir, the new Cabinet will be 29-strong.
This compares with the 35 full ministers in the last Cabinet of Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration. Then prime minister Najib was also finance minister, and then deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also helmed the home ministry.
There were 33 deputy ministers in the previous Cabinet line-up.
In Dr Mahathir's Cabinet, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also handles the Women's Affairs and Welfare portfolio.
Dr Mahathir's Cabinet was sworn in on May 21, 13 days after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance won the general election.
But there has been a delay in appointing the additional ministers due to internal friction between the four members of PH, media reports say.
The four PH parties are Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's multiracial Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP), Dr Mahathir's Malay nationalist Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara, a moderate Islamic faction.
Quoting the same source, Malaysiakini said that among those on the list for ministerial posts are PKR's Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Amanah's Mr Khalid Samad and from the DAP, Ms Teresa Kok and Mr Ong Kian Ming.
The key portfolios to be announced include foreign affairs, international trade and industry, tourism and Islamic affairs.
The PH government has not settled on who would be the new Speaker of Parliament, according to reports. The first Parliament sitting following last month's general election is on July 16.