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(Melaka, Tuesday): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s failure to carry out the promised cabinet reshuffle questions his authority to promote his agenda of justice, fighting corruption, improve accountability and the delivery system. There have been intense speculation that the Prime Minister will undertake the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle before the Chinese New Year following the cancellation of his overseas trip to Davos (Switzerland) to attend the 36th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum from January 23-26.
For the Prime Minister to miss such an important forum, signify that he had important domestic matters to handle. With the Federal Territories Minister’s post is vacant following Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Samad's resignation after his suspension from Umno for money politics, a Cabinet reshuffle was considered necessary to freshen up his 2-year old administration with fresh blood as well as cut out the dead wood.
Surprisingly, Chinese New Year came and went without any Cabinet reshuffle, questioning the motive for the Prime Minister to skip such an important meeting in Davos which would provide him an opportunity to push Malaysia’s profile other top world political and business leaders of the world's richest corporations, noted intellectuals and journalists, as well as the corporate giants that influence investment flows and decisions.
The absence of any time frame of Cabinet reshuffle will only prolong speculation and uncertainty which may affect the smooth running of the administration. There is a need for the Prime Minister clearly state whether he intends to or not to carry out the reshuffle. Such declaration is needed following mixed messages emanating from his proposal to set up the Independent Police Misconduct And Complaints Commission (IPCMC) which was opposed not only by the police, three police organizations but also UMNO Youth chief Datuk Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn.
With such opposition, uncertainty surrounds the viability and existence of the IPCMC. If he continues to dilly-dally with the Cabinet reshuffle that will only further lengthen the 6-month uncertainty over his administration. There is a need to fill in the vacancy of Federal Territories Ministry just as there is a need for a full-time Minister to take over the portfolio of either the Internal Security or Finance Ministry as well as cut out the dead-wood clogging up his stated political goals and agenda.
Any more delay may affect the running of his administration especially with the upcoming introduction of the 9th Malaysian Plan on 31 March 2006. Any reshuffle must be conducted before then as to change “horse-riders in mid-stream” would be disruptive and not responsible management.