Shahrir for comeback, Sabah MPs in reshuffle?

Shahrir Abdul Samad

Palanivel to be dropped until elections, say Utusan editors in speculation on Najib’s next moves

(Free Malaysia Today) – Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia has hinted of “a huge surprise” in a possible Cabinet reshuffle by prime minister Najib Razak as he faces an onslaught of criticism over the affairs of 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Shahrir Samad (pic), the MP for Johor Bahru, was touted for a possible high-profile comeback, with cabinet ministers Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Shafie Apdal reshuffled in new portfolios, and two others and the MIC’s G. Palanivel to be dropped.

The names were highlighted in Mingguan Malaysia’s weekly column by Awang Selamat, the collective pseudonym of Utusan’s senior editors, who also speculated that there might be changes in Umno’s national leadership.

Awang said Najib was facing his toughest challenge since becoming Umno president, Barisan Nasional chairman, and prime minister.

The swirling allegations about 1MDB’s money meant that Najib needed a new team, Awang said, one that was “not only dynamic, but committed to his side in crisis”.

“The possibility that Najib might make some drastic changes cannot be denied. Who knows, there might be a huge surprise. We’ll wait,” said Awang.

Awang described Shahrir Samad as “influential, well-liked by all and highly experienced”. Shahrir was federal territories minister in the 1980s and has been chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, parliament’s watchdog, as well as the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club in the Dewan Rakyat.

Two Sabahan MPs were speculated for new portfolios: Abdul Rahman Dahlan, MP for Kota Belud, to be communications minister, and Shafie Apdal, MP for Semporna, would be moved out of rural development to another ministry, as with Ahmad Shabery Cheek of communications.