KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's new Cabinet under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration was sworn in on Monday (May 21), nearly two weeks after the coalition's shocking election win that ended Barisan Nasional's (BN) six decades of power.
The 13 federal ministers took their oaths of office in a ceremony at the royal palace presided over by King Sultan Muhammad V.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had announced the 13 names in a statement on Friday, and said the Cabinet would eventually have 25 ministers in total.
The ministerial appointments have mainly been distributed among the top leadership in the pact's four member parties, namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).
While many of the appointees are new to serving under the federal government, they will be guided by seasoned hands like Tun Dr Mahathir, who first served as PM from 1981 to 2003, and former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who returns to Cabinet with the Home Affairs portfolio. Both men are from PPBM.
Malaysia saw its first female deputy prime minister in the form of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. The PKR president was also made Minister of Women and Family Development.
Taking on the most sought-after portfolios are former Selangor Menteri Besar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who is Minister of Economic Affairs, and former Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is Finance Minister.
First-term lawmaker and former university professor Maszlee Malik is now Education Minister. Dr Mahathir had initially taken the portfolio for himself, but later rescinded his decision because PH had pledged in its election manifesto that its prime minister would not hold any additional post in Cabinet.
PPBM's women's wing chief Rina Harun, another first-term lawmaker, is Rural Development Minister.
PKR women's wing chief Zuraida Kamaruddin is the Housing and Local Government Minister.
DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo is Communications and Multimedia Minister, while the party's vice-chairperson M. Kulasegaran is Human Resources Minister. DAP's national organising secretary Anthony Loke is Transport Minister.
Amanah's president Mohamad Sabu is Defence Minister, while its deputy president Salahuddin Ayub is Agriculture and Agro-based Industries minister. The party's strategy director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is Health Minister.
Some observers have criticised the line-up for being based on seniority within each of the member parties, and not on ability.
Each PH component party submitted their names to the coalition's presidential council for deliberation and the final decision was made by Dr Mahathir.