8 tests for Najib Cabinet

Open Letter to Prime Minister and Cabinet

YAB Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Cabinet Ministers, Putrajaya.


Firstly, let me start by congratulating Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his appointment as Prime Minister and all the Ministers of the first Najib Cabinet.

The Najib Cabinet saw the removal of seven Ministers in the old Abdullah Cabinet, namely Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar (Home); Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Tourism), Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Rural and Regional Development), Senator Datuk Amirsham Abdul Aziz (Prime Minister’s Department), Datuk Ong Ka Chuan (Housing and Local Government), Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed (Works) and Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique (Federal Territories).

No one shed any tears for the dropping of the seven Ministers in the Abdullah Cabinet.

However, Malaysians are outraged at the new set of Ministers in the Najib Cabinet, for they are not only another set of “old faces” but include 11 new Ministers or Deputy Ministers who entered Parliament from the backdoor of the Senate.

Worse still, they include “political rejects” like Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin who were trounced by the electorate in last year’s political tsunami in the March 8 general elections, making the Najib Cabinet even more unrepresentative and unpopular than the second and last Abdullah Cabinet.

As a result, no new Cabinet in the nation’s 52-year history could have got off with a worse start than the present one.


On 25th March 2008, I had sent an urgent fax to the Prime Minister on the eight matters which the second Abdullah Cabinet should focus on at its first meeting the next day to show that it was capable of responding to the March 8 political tsunami and be on top of the changes demanded by Malaysians.

These eight issues concern the immediate and unconditional release of the five Hindraf leaders, restoration of national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary; comprehensive parliamentary reforms and modernisation; an all-out drive to eradicate corruption; leadership by example on integrity by Ministers and Deputy Ministers; the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC); public inquiry into the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) bailout scandal and an all-party inquiry to enhance Malaysia’s international competitiveness to enable the country to successfully face the challenges of globalization.

If the second and last Abdullah Cabinet is to be evaluated on its success based on the key performance indicators (KPIs) on the eight issues I had outlined, the assessment must be one of dismal failure.

The new Najib Cabinet cannot disclaim responsibility for the dismal failure of the old Abdullah Cabinet to carry out meaningful reforms, as 25 of the 29 Ministers in the Najib Cabinet or a walloping 86.3 per cent were in the old Abdullah Cabinet, with two as Deputy Ministers!

I am taking this opportunity on the eve of the first working meeting of the Najib Cabinet tomorrow to ask the new (actually mostly old) Ministers to focus on eight issues: